• World Cup

Suarez: England players want my shirt

ESPN staff
June 9, 2014
ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson discusses his exploration of Luis Suarez's complicated personality

Luis Suarez remains confident he will play in this summer's World Cup finals - with the Uruguay striker targeting the Group D game with England as the one "everyone is looking forward to most".

Suarez, who underwent surgery on his knee a little more than two weeks ago, has revealed his emotions as his World Cup hopes were derailed by a training ground injury, yet he suggested a positive mental approach has been vital to what he hopes will be a swift recovery.

And with excitement building as he prepares to clash with his club colleagues Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson, Suarez claimed he has produced a new Liverpool fanbase in his homeland.

"Maybe in England the Premier League eclipses everything, but here it's all about the World Cup," he told the Guardian. "This is the game [against England] everyone is looking forward to most.

Benzema wants Suarez at Real

Luis Suarez has been constantly linked with a move to Real Madrid © PA Photos
  • Karim Benzema believes Luis Suarez would "help" Real Madrid and insists he would not "feel any particular pressure" if the Liverpool striker signed for the club.
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"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.

"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."

Suarez is eager to convey a message of positivity and he went into detail on the recovery process he is undertaking, insisting Uruguay have treated him well.

He added: "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.

"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.

"What you don't know is how the knee will react. 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 [of recovery] 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 okay."

Suarez did manage to slip in one warning for England. "They do have weaknesses at the back and I know what they are," he said. "I won't be saying [publicly] - but in the Uruguay squad I will."

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