Barcelona's Luis Suarez: 'Privileged to have pitch in my name' at Nacional
Barcelona star Luis Suarez was moved to tears after his former club Nacional, in Montevideo, Uruguay, named a new training pitch after him.
Suarez, who has been playing football away from his home country for the past 11 years, Suarez returned to Nacional on Wednesday to receive the honour.
Suarez, who made his debut at 18, spoke at length with visible emotion and told a group of young players: "Here at Nacional I've been treated spectacularly always, I'm very grateful for having started here at Nacional, like many other players, and I worship that, I'm privileged to have a pitch with my own name."
Nacional nurtured Suarez's talent as a teenager, and in 2005-06 at 18, he helped them to the Primera Division title with 10 goals in 27 appearances.
"To these boys, I tell them to worship the opportunity to train on a synthetic grass pitch, when we trained the ball went in any direction," he said. "Enjoy it, you'll go through very hard times at 13 years old, at 15, at 18, at 24, at any age, but you should never give up and value having someone beside you...."
Suarez's quality was quickly recognised in Uruguay and as a 19-year-old he made his debut for Groningen in the Dutch Eridivisie, and that was followed by hugely successful spells at Ajax, Liverpool and his current club Barcelona.
To date, the 30-year-old has scored 341 goals in 510 club matches. Along with the goals came the notoriety after repeated incidents of violent conduct -- he was banned for biting incidents at Ajax in 2010, at Liverpool in 2013, and again at the World Cup in 2014.
He alluded to his past in his speech -- "For each one of you and your self-pride, I tell you to never give up. Football has many second chances and you have to make the most of them, I tell you because I've been through many."
At the end of his speech, Suarez thanked his wife Sofia for her ongoing support.
"I wanted my kids to see this beautiful moment," he said through tears. "I wanted them to see where daddy come from and I wanted to thank my wife for all her support after 13 years together, I value that."
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Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.