Why Messi Helped Luis Suarez Get One Over Cristiano Ronaldo
Luis Suarez has revealed that former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi helped him secure a January transfer to Gremio after he got one over on Cristiano Ronaldo at his unveiling.
The 35-year-old was a free agent after his contract at boyhood club Nacional expired, but he has remained in South America to continue his twilight years.
Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo were two legends of a generation without clubs at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The latter had been searching for a new club after Manchester United terminated his deal in November on the back of his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.
But at the end of last month, Ronaldo completed a move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, penning a two-and-a-half-year contract worth £177million.
A rapturous ovation on the streets of Riyadh welcomed the 37-year-old, but several thousand more – 30,000 in total – descended on the Arena de Gremio to celebrate Suarez at his unveiling on Thursday.
Perhaps an indicator of Brazil’s superior passion for football than in the Middle East, but it was welcome firepower to those fans linked to the El Clasico divide between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
And Blaugrana supporters will be relishing Suarez’s impressive unveiling even more after the Uruguay international revealed Messi played a role.
When asked by Marca about negotiating his move to Gremio while staying at Messi’s house, Suarez revealed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner advised his decision.
He said: “Friends are always there to help, to advise and to support my decisions. And that’s what happened with… friends.
“I am not the same as I used to be. But it’s possible that with one movement 50 meters away from the goal post, my teammates could benefit from me because it’s a team effort.”
Suarez was taken aback by the support he received in Porto Alegre as he embarked on the latest challenge of his career.
After his unveiling, he took to Twitter to thank Gremio fans for the incredible welcome.
He wrote: “Thank you guys! Incredible welcome, thank you from the bottom of my heart for how you made me feel today. GO GREMIO!”
Given Gremio only returned to the Brazilian top-flight last season, it’s no surprise Suarez’s arrival has been met with such delight.