We officially have a FIFA-confirmed date for Luis Suárez’s long-awaited return to the Uruguayan national team: Friday, March 25, the day that La Celeste is scheduled to take on Brazil in a decisive CONMEBOL 2018 World Cup qualifier.
It’s been 18 months since Luisito was handed a four-month suspension from all fútbol activities and a nine-match ban from the national team for biting defender Giorgio Chiellini with 11 minutes on the clock in Uruguay’s all-important Group D matchup against Italy in the 2014 World Cup (a match that ended 1-0 in favor of the South American side thanks to an 81st-minute header from Diego Godín, who absolutely smattered his countryman in Atlético’s 2-1 loss to Barcelona over the weekend).
Since then, Suárez has gone on to become arguably Barça’s best-ever signing with his “incessant provocation of defenders through physical contact and endless running.” Atlético manager Diego Simeone put it perfectly when he said that Suárez “enriched Barça with qualities they didn’t have.” The numbers don’t lie; El Pistolero simply cannot be contained. As it stands, he has 31 goals and 14 assists in 32 games this season. Let that sink in for a moment.
Suárez’s return could prove to be just as revitalizing for an Uruguayan national team that currently sits second in regional qualifying after a massive 3-0 win over Chile in the final match day of the calendar year. Think about this: mix Uruguay’s unrivaled desire and determination to be first to every ball with their joint-best goals record of nine and low of two (both level with Ecuador), then add Suárez and stir. Yep.