Luis Suarez: To Make Return After Biting Ban
Luis Suarez says he has been working on controlling his “anxiety and nerves” as he prepares for his first competitive Uruguay game since biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
Suarez was given a nine-game ban from competitive internationals, as well as a four-month ban from all football-related activity for the 2014 incident.
“No-one is going to change the way I play,” said Barcelona’s Suarez, 29.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said Suarez must be “more than mature”.
Suarez missed 641 days of competitive action for his country, including their 2014 World Cup defeat by Colombia, the entire 2015 Copa America and four games of 2018 World Cup qualifying. He was still allowed to play in friendlies.
Uruguay are second in South American qualifying behind Ecuador and face Brazil on Friday.
‘I will still run, pressure and argue’
Suarez has been in sensational form since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona in the aftermath of the ban, winning the La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble.
This season he has scored 46 goals in 47 games for the Spanish side and says he will not change his aggressive style of play.
“I am going to have the same attitude. I will still run, still pressure, still argue but with moderation, like I am doing now at Barcelona,” he said.
“I am being more intelligent about a lot of things, trying to take advantage of the situations life is putting in front of me.
“I have been working over the last few weeks on trying to control my anxiety, my nerves, which people’s euphoria can cause me but I am very relaxed.
“I know it is special because a lot of time has passed but more than anything I feel like a player who is coming to give the best I can.
“The only thing I want to do is play with the national side again and enjoy the warmth of the fans.”
‘They will do everything they can to stop him’
Coach Tabarez feels his striker must concentrate on his football and nothing else.
“As a person, he must have emotions, he must have a lot going on in his head after almost two years away from the national team,” said Tabarez. “One of the objectives that we set out is for him to think about playing football and nothing else.
“I recognise his importance as a footballer, how symbolic everything he does is, how important he is for the people of this country but he is coming to take part in a team.
“He is going to play against teams who recognise the potential he has and who are going to do everything they can to stop him, so he has to be very fresh, more than mature.”