The legendary Uruguayan, 35, came off the bench to lớn make his his first appearance for boyhood team Nacional in over 16 years this week.

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The Uruguayan forward left the club 16-years ago lớn be closer to his now-wife Sofia

Suarez proved he remained smitten with the beautiful trò chơi after he received a hero’s welcome upon his return to lớn his homeland.

He started his career with Nacional in 2005 before enjoying spells at Groningen, Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona, beforeending his time in Europe with Atletico Madrid.

But none of that would have been possible without the woman he returned khổng lồ the Montevideo-based club alongside: his wife Sofia Balbi.

Suarez’s rags-to-riches story began when he was a teenager with his mother struggling khổng lồ make ends-meet after his father had walked out.

The forward had signed for the most successful club side in Uruguay football history but started skipping training, drinking, staying out late.

Suarez told the Liverpool Echo: “I wasn’t on the path I wanted to be on.


Brendan Rodgers called Sofia is ‘a real pillar’ in Suarez’s life when he was at Liverpool

“I was going out at night, I didn’t enjoy studying & I wasn’t dedicating myself to football.”

It was then that 15-year-old Suarez first met Sofia, two his years his junior, while working as a street sweeper.

Writing in his autobiography, Crossing the Line, he said: “It would have been easy for Sofi’s parents lớn reject this little rascal.

“When my daughter is thirteen, if she brings home a fifteen-year-old boyfriend who looks like he might be from the wrong side of the tracks I might not take so kindly khổng lồ him. Not only did they seem to lớn accept me, they actually appeared to lượt thích me.

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“When Sofi’s father went away for work I would help her mother out with jobs around the house such as lighting the boiler. Sometimes Sofi và I would have disagreements & her mum would defend me. I suppose they valued the effort I put in just lớn see Sofi.

“Here was this kid from Montevideo who couldn’t afford the bus journey lớn Solymar, but he always found a way lớn see their daughter. I think they realised I would have walked if I’d had to.

“There were days when I had the money khổng lồ get there but not enough money lớn get back và so I used to hitchhike home in the early hours. I had khổng lồ be at training at Nacional the next day after all.”


Suarez wears his heart on his sleeve…and his love on his chest

Suarez’s goal scoring feats at Nacional propelled the club to the 2006 domestic title but there was something missing in his life.

His girlfriend Sofia had moved from Uruguay to lớn Barcelona with her family when he was 16 và the pair struggled khổng lồ make their long-distance relationship work.

When Suarez was offered the chance to move to FC Groningen in Holland, he seized the chance to lớn be closer lớn her.

As reported by the Times, he said: “Sofia and I had to continue a long-distance relationship for a year.

“Despite this complication I could not give up on our relationship and when I got a call to play in Europe I didn’t think twice. The only thing I thought about was being by her side again.

“That’s how my European adventure started. I was only 19 but I had the girl of my life, Sofia, next lớn me.”


Suarez fell in love with Sofia when he was a teenage street sweeper in Uruguay

The two celebrated their ten-year wedding anniversary in 2019 và Sofia has been by Suarez’s side throughout all highs and lows in his career.

Uruguay’s all-time leading goalscorer told the Guardian: “Sofi means everything.

“She means the start of my career, she means a change of countries và lifestyles. She’s been there all the time, through good & bad.”

Suarez has the word Sofi tattooed on lớn his wedding finger while the names of each of their three children Delfina (an anagram of Anfield), Benjamin and Lauti on his wrist – which he kisses as part of his celebration.

A key factor in Suarez’s decision lớn leave Liverpool for Barcelona was the prospect of living in Spain where Sofi’s family still live.

But now the pair have now finally returned lớn where it all began with a full family of their own as Suarez rejoins Nacional.

The beautiful game indeed…

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