Luis Suarez underwent surgery on the meniscus in his left knee on May 22, but is determined to make it to the World Cup and he never felt he would miss the World Cup.
Suarez told The Guardian :“Emotionally, I’ve felt fine; psychologically, I’ve been spectacular. At no time did I feel pressured, at no time have I felt sad because at no point did I think there was a chance of me missing the World Cup,” he says.
“The thought never went through my mind. I could have really cried [in pain] because of this injury but I didn’t because I knew. I knew. When the doctor first spoke to me three little tears fell but no more. My wife said: ‘I can’t believe how strong you’re being’ but I knew I’d make it.”
Suarez missed all the warm up games for Uruguay, lacks match fitness and it remains to be seen if he plays against Costa Rica on Saturday, before meeting England on June 19 in a game which would field Suarez against a few of his Anfield teammates.
“What you don’t know is how the knee will react,” he says. “Today, I could say to you: ‘Yeah, I’ll make it to the first game’. Or: ‘No, I prefer to wait for the second or the third’.
“But you only know for sure as you progress and you see how the knee reacts. You can reach the 20th day and think: ‘I’m flying here’ but then that day your knee swells up and everything slows down. For as long as the knee resists and there’s no pain, so long as the quadriceps strengthen, you’re OK.”
Suarez also tells the story of the time he was hit by a car, broke his foot and kept playing.
“I was 12 or so, near [Nacional’s ground] Parque Central. I’d fractured my fifth metatarsal but I didn’t realise and played anyway. Eventually, they put a plaster cast on but I still played at school.
“When I went to get it taken off, there wasn’t much left; the heel had been worn away and the doctor was furious. A week after they took the plaster off I played a proper match.
“I’m an emotional person and I externalise my feelings a lot with some things but I’m strong with others,” he continues. “Injuries are not only a physical question, which is the most important thing of course, but also a question of your mind. If you’re thinking: ‘I’m not going to make it’, ‘I can’t cope’, ‘it hurts’, ‘it’s never going to get better’, then it won’t. My objective was clear: be strong emotionally and physically. I wanted my children to be able to see me play at the World Cup.
“Of course there was the normal worry there always is when you undergo an operation … and an operation is always an operation. At first I had to rest completely. I couldn’t put weight on it at all. To see my wife worried, saying: ‘don’t move’, ‘sit still’, ‘stay there’; to not be able to put the kids to bed or bath them; was hard. But I was more concerned about that than not making it. If they had said to me that the extent of the injury was greater, I’d have been worried. But knowing the grade of the injury, I was confident.
“I knew that there was time to make it carefully so there was no point in risking trying to get ahead of myself. I would rather get there just on time but be sure that it is right.
“After a couple of days I was on crutches and Walter Ferreira, the physio, said: ‘get rid of those’. He told me to put weight through it, but gently. Don’t do what some do and leap right on to it. Bang, bang, bang. ‘Bit by bit, until the pain goes,’ he said. And, bit by bit, the pain goes.
“I’ve heard so many meniscus stories: some players say: ‘I was back in 15 days’, the next one says 20, the next says 25. Each case is different. Some players said: ‘I was walking on the second day’. But then they admit: ‘After 20 days it swelled up again’. And now it seems everyone’s a doctor.
“Today I’ve been exercising with an elastic band, lifting my leg like this, up and down,” he continues, demonstrating the movement. “The aim is to build the quadriceps: that’s what supports the knee. Sometimes you do your exercises and you look down at the knee and think ‘it’s swollen’ but it’s not swollen; that’s just the way it is and that’s the way it will be now.
“I’ve worked indoors so far. What I don’t want to do is to go outside and start jogging and for people to see me like this,” Suárez adds, imitating a limp. “When I go out on to the pitch, I want to go out there ready. We know what the expectations are like and what the media is like. They’d say: ‘Today he’s jogging but he doesn’t look quite right’. Then it’ll be: ‘Today he was running normally’. And that can load pressure on and also create a false impression.”
Suarez added that even if he doesn’t play on June 19 he will bring enough shirts so that he can exchange them with his Liverpool teammates and denies sending text messages to anyone.
“I saw reports saying that I had told the Liverpool players I would make it for the game against England, for sure,” he told The Guardian.
“But I didn’t say that. The day of the operation I exchanged messages with Stevie [Gerrard] and Glen [Johnson]. They said: ‘Hope to see you in Brazil’. And I said: ‘Yeah, see you there’. That’s not exactly the same thing. I never said I’d definitely be there.
“I’ve already told Gerrard that we’ll swap shirts. And Glen will ask for my shirt, I’m sure. Maybe Daniel [Sturridge] and Raheem [Sterling] will as well. I’ll take a few with me,” added Suarez, who hopefully will take an extra one as he forgot to mention another Liverpool teammate in midfielder Jordan Henderson.
“When we played Holland in 2010 [he was suspended for the semi-final having being sent off for saving with his hands a goalbound effort by Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah in the quarter-final], I was at Ajax and had friends in their team,” he said.
“I had to tell the kit man I needed five shirts. Although I didn’t play, they still wanted my shirt; they have the date and the match stitched into them, so it’s a nice reminder of the match. So, yes, I’ll swap shirts. I’m not sure I’ll actually put it on though!”
Suarez also proudly admits that Uruguayans have followed Liverpool and they’ve become Liverpool fans.
“This is the game everyone is looking forward to most here,” he said.
“It’s incredible to see how Uruguayans have followed Liverpool; they’ve become fans and that makes me feel very proud.
“To see an entire country waiting on the Liverpool games is incredible or to see people angry because they can’t watch it because it’s only on satellite TV. People are getting up early in the morning to watch us play,” he added.
Suarez admits he likes Leighton Baines from the blue side of Merseyside and talks about his qualities.
“Baines is a player I like a lot,” he says. “His focus is less on the defensive side of the game, more on getting forward, but he has got the best left foot in the Premier League. He’s spectacular. He has a lot of quality, he strikes the ball very well and, with good players around him, England can benefit from that. We have to be very careful,” he says. “Rooney has that will to win and this is a good chance for him. I read [Roy] Hodgson saying that people were piling responsibility on to him.
“It’s good that he has responsibility but not pressure: he has a lot of good players around him. It’s not just Rooney. You have to value the rest; you shouldn’t overlook them. England have lots of talented players.”
Luis Suarez has been in brilliant form for Liverpool last season, scoring 31 goals, winning the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, Barclays Premier League Player of the Year, Barclays Premier League Golden boot Winner and European Golden Boot award.
Luis Suarez has repaid the Liverpool fans by brilliant on field performances this season after last summer transfer fiasco around him. Reports suggest that Madrid will make a £70m bid for Suarez. Liverpool have booked their place in the Champions League next season and only a ridiculous offer might tempt Liverpool to sell their star striker. Recently, Suarez admitted he is happy at Liverpool and does not want to leave.