Luis Suarez has made clear he has no doubts about returning for Uruguay in time for the World Cup, though he won’t commit to what game.
The Liverpool striker is currently recovering from surgery on a meniscus injury undergone on May 22 with both he and the Association Uruguaya de Futbol having indicated that he is line to return at some stage during the Celeste’s group stage campaign, which includes games with Costa Rica, England and Italy.
Whilst the margins for the 27-year-old to recover in time are fine, he has made clear that at no stage has he given in to the prospect of not making the tournament.
“Emotionally, I’ve felt fine - psychologically, I’ve been spectacular,” Suarez has explained to the Guardian this week.
“At no time did I feel pressured, at no time have I felt sad because at no point did I think there was a chance of me missing the World Cup.
“The thought never went through my mind. I could have really cried [in pain] because of this injury but I didn’t because I knew. I knew.
“When the doctor first spoke to me three little tears fell but no more. My wife said: ‘I can’t believe how strong you’re being’ but I knew I’d make it.
“What game will I return for? What you don’t know is how the knee will react. Today, I could say to you: ‘Yeah, I’ll make it to the first game’. Or: ‘No, I prefer to wait for the second or the third’.
“But you only know for sure as you progress and you see how the knee reacts. You can reach the 20th day and think: ‘I’m flying here’ but then that day your knee swells up and everything slows down.
“For as long as the knee resists and there’s no pain, so long as the quadriceps strengthen, you’re OK.”
Suarez explained further his bid to regain full fitness and the pressure on him to do so.
“Today I’ve been exercising with an elastic band, lifting my leg like this, up and down.
“The aim is to build the quadriceps: that’s what supports the knee. Sometimes you do your exercises and you look down at the knee and think ‘it’s swollen’ but it’s not swollen - that’s just the way it is and that’s the way it will be now.
“I’ve worked indoors so far. What I don’t want to do is to go outside and start jogging and for people to see me like this.
“When I go out on to the pitch, I want to go out there ready. We know what the expectations are like and what the media is like.
“They’d say: ‘Today he’s jogging but he doesn’t look quite right’. Then it’ll be: ‘Today he was running normally’. And that can load pressure on and also create a false impression.”