Suarez re-unites with Messi, targets Copa America

Luis Suarez re-united with his former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi on Saturday and said he hoped his move to Inter Miami would boost his chances of competing in June’s Copa America with Uruguay.

The 36-year-old striker took part in his first training session with the Major League Soccer club on Saturday following his move from Brazilian club Gremio.

Suarez makes up a quartet of former Barca players at Miami with Spaniards Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets having moved to the club last year.

The striker, who has also played with Ajax, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in a prolific career, scored 26 goals in all competitions for Gremio last season and said he was targeting success with his new club.

“Football is always about challenges…and Inter Miami showed me a nice opportunity to dream of winning MLS, which this club never did,” he told a press conference after training.

Suarez, who said he had been pitched the move by Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham, said he was “dreaming big” for the new MLS season which begins on February 21.

But he was also delighted to find old friends at his new club.

“The fact that we are meeting again says a lot about the friendship we have, about how well we know each other on the pitch. And we have to try to enjoy ourselves and want to win, which is our DNA,” he said.

Suarez said that the veteran core of the team, coached by former Barcelona and Argentina boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, would aim to “teach the talented youngsters that at Inter Miami it’s not about age, it’s about commitment, the sacrifice you make on the pitch”.

The forward was recalled to the Uruguay team for November’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, coming on as a substitute for first choice striker Darwin Nunez in the 3-0 win over Bolivia and said he hopes his form will earn him a place for the Copa America, which is being held in the United States.

– On Merit –

“Coming to the United States knowing that (the tournament) is being played here this year is another plus. (But) it will depend on my performance on the field,” he said.

“I was there in November on merit, because of good games in the Brazilian league, and it will be the same (about) how I am physically and at the level of play. I want to let the coach see that I can contribute the minutes he wants. (If I am there) it will be because of my performances and not because of the name I have,” he said.

Martino said he had enjoyed watching his former Barca foursome in action on the field again.

“We finished the session with 20 minutes of football. It was obvious, in those 20 minutes, that the four of them have not forgotten how to play together. It was 20 minutes of beautiful football,” he said.

Miami have their first test on January 19 against the El Salvador national team in San Salvador.

After a friendly against FC Dallas in Texas, the team flies to Saudi Arabia to play Al Hilal on January 29 before taking on Cristiano Ronaldo’s side Al Nassr.

Three days later, Miami then face an All-Star team in Hong Kong on February 4 before jetting to Tokyo for a friendly with J-League club Vissel Kobe.

The team’s pre-season finishes on February 15 with their only home game against Messi’s boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys and then six days later the MLS season opens with Inter at home to Real Salt Lake.


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