Luis Suarez has completed a sensational return to the club where it all began for him, Nacional.
A helping hand from his best friend Lionel Messi played a key role in the transfer, after the Argentine lent Suarez his £12 million private jet so he could fly to Montevideo for his unveiling on Sunday.
Messi even went a step further and provided a special tribute video for his pal that was played to the 50,000 fans inside the club’s Gran Parque Central Stadium who had turned out to welcome their hero home.
Suarez’s return: How it happened
The topic of Suarez’s next club has been a long running drama since his contract expiry with Atletico Madrid this summer.
For a while Aston Villa seemed like a real contender, then we had Marseille, and even Borussia Dortmund for a time, but a social media campaign from Uruguayan supporters named #SuarezANacional (Suarez to Nacional) was reportedly enough to turn his head.
According to the club, the hashtag was used 50 million times across 35 countries.
And local press also claimed that when news of the signing broke, Nacional registered over 5000 new members and sold an extra 700 season tickets within the first 24 hours.
He’s certainly bringing back plenty of hype to his home nation, that’s for sure.
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Messi’s tribute video
That hype would only have grown further when the fans inside the stadium on Sunday evening saw the face of the great Messi appear on the big screen.
The Argentine spoke directly to Suarez in what was a truly heartfelt message from one best friend to another.
“Hey Gordo! (Fatty) Well, you’re there now and I wanted to give you a big hug and wish you all the best in this new chapter of yours.” Messi said.
“I know how important it is for you to be back in your country, your home, to Nacional after so long and prepare for the World Cup in a few months.
“I wish you all the best. Now I have to follow Nacional from here! We, Newell’s fans, don’t have good memories of Nacional.
“But, you know, I care about you and I am here for whatever you need.
“Hey Gordo, as I said, I wish you all the best and, hopefully, we’ll see you soon. A big hug. Bye!”
Luis Suarez was welcomed back to Nacional by thousands of fans, and received a special video message from former teammate Lionel Messi 🇺🇾 pic.twitter.com/TxDhmHZIxA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 2, 2022
Wow, what a moment. It’s worth noting what Messi said about the World Cup as well.
This year will likely be the last time we’ll get to see either of these great players on football’s biggest stage, and Suarez reportedly has a clause in his contract that guarantees he starts at least 16 matches between now and then – so you just know he’s going into Qatar prepared to wreak havoc.
His first game could come as early as Tuesday, with Nacional set to take on Brazilian side Atletico Goianiense in the Copa Sudamericana – the South American equivalent of the Europa League.