Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez said it is premature to think Luis Suarez’s time with the national team is over.
Suarez – who has earned 111 Uruguay caps – will miss international friendlies against South American rivals Peru on October 11 and 15 to undergo medical treatment in Barcelona.
The 32-year-old forward was named in the preliminary squad but withdrew ahead of the games in Montevideo and Lima, instead remaining in Barcelona with the LaLiga champions.
Asked about Suarez, who has scored four goals in his past three games for Barca, and his future, Tabarez told reporters: “Every player wears out during his career. In the 60’s I read an article about Pele, I don’t need to introduce him, written by doctors saying that Pele had the body of someone 20 years older than him.
Video del entrenamiento de este lunes a la tarde en el Complejo Celeste. pic.twitter.com/3Sb1WQupuy
— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) October 7, 2019
“So, how long has Suarez been on the national team? He’s here from 2007. How many games he played? How many goals he scored? How many times did he play injured? How many times he had surprising recoveries? For how quick they were or how they scaped normal things like the necessary recovery time and he overcame that, so I think it’s rushed and it’s not knowing the player [Suarez] saying he’s over. Not at all. Time will tell who’s right. We have a lot of confidence on him being fit.
“It’s very hard to guess the future of a player. I didn’t guess what Luis Suarez has achieved in football. In 2006, when he first came here to train I saw things on him that weren’t normal, but there was no way I could imagine, from there, all the career he had. I don’t take credit on that either. The credit is his. He did all that. He had ups and downs, he made mistakes, but every time he came, he brought something new.
“He was the top scorer in Groningen, he went to Ajax, he became Ajax’s captain with just 21 years old, then moving to Liverpool, all the goals he scored, he keeps breaking records… With a huge wear out that has given him some problems but he always keeps his head up. That’s the kind of player that sets an era in a national team, and in a given time those players were youngsters. So you have to pay attention to them sometime and if you see something, you help them out.
“What Luis Suarez has given to Uruguayan football is huge. Never mind the chance that he can give something little from now on. I hope he can still give us something. I’m not 100 per cent sure, he can have some problem. But we can’t worry just for one injury or missing one game.”
Suarez – Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer with 58 goals since debuting in 2007 – has netted six goals for Barca across all competitions this term.