Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez has announced his return to his first club Nacional after being sacked by Atletico Madrid late last season.
The former Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona forward will sign a three-month deal to play in the Uruguayan Clausura as he prepares for the World Cup in Qatar, which begins in November.
More than 20,000 Nacional fans wore Suarez masks at a recent game after being linked with the 35-year-old forward.
“Hi everyone, first of all I wanted to thank you guys for all the love we’ve received over the past few days, both myself and my family,” the striker said in a video posted to Twitter.
“It was very exciting, all the videos and messages that reached us and touched our hearts about this situation.
“It was impossible to turn down this opportunity to play with Nacional again. We have a pre-agreement with the club and in the next few hours the details will be finalized and we hope to get the deal we all want.
“I hope to enjoy this new stage and see you in the coming days. I send you all a big hug and thank you for all the love you have given us. See you soon.”
Suarez started his career at Nacional and made his debut in May 2005 at the age of 18. After a full season he moved to Groningen in the Netherlands and a year later to Ajax.
It was there that he caught the attention of Liverpool and after three and a half seasons in England – when he scored 82 goals in 133 games – Suarez joined Barcelona for £75million.
He experienced his most successful period in Catalonia, where he won four Spanish championship titles and the Champions League in 2015.
Suarez has scored 198 goals in 283 games – making him the second-highest goalscorer of all time – for the Catalan giants and formed a winning attacking trio alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.
He was controversially sold to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid in 2020 after new Barca manager Ronaldo Koeman told him he was not part of his plans.
But Suarez would quickly have the last laugh as he won La Liga again in his first season with Diego Simeone’s side when he finished as top scorer with 21 goals.
Barca would finish third, seven points adrift of Atletico, while Koeman was sacked in 2021 after just 14 months at the Camp Nou.
His second season at Atleti was less successful and the club announced ahead of the final home game of the season that Suarez would not be offered a new contract and would be leaving as a free agent.
He will now return to where his story began in Uruguay.
Nacional president Jose Fuentes thanked the fans who launched a massive social media campaign to convince Suarez to return.
“We are ready to give him all the love he deserves and treat him like he is, a football idol,” Fuentes said. “Nacional’s doors are open, you just have to tell us what you need.
“We still have to adjust a few small things… [but] he will definitely come next week.
Gallery: Suarez says goodbye to Atlético
Updated July 27, 2022 at 11:22 am