WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Nerves and excitement for Luis Suárez as Brazil return looms

The Barcelona star is set to make his Uruguay return twenty months after sinking his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini's neck during the 2014 World Cup.

Nerves and excitement for Luis Suárez as Brazil return looms
ANDRES STAPFF REUTERS

Having purged his nine-match ban for biting at the 2014 World Cup, star Uruguay and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is both nervous and excited ahead of a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Brazil in Recife on Friday.

Suarez has scored 37 goals for Barcelona this season, but has not played for Uruguay since biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the last World Cup 20 months ago.

The 29-year-old is also widely feared for his chaos causing runs and astonishing range of strikes, and is relishing a chance to attack Brazil's weak spot, 'their defence' while also anxious the occasion may get the better of him.

Giorgio Chiellini protests after being biten

'I'm going to try and control the anxiety and nervousness that other people's excitement may make me feel,' said Suarez, who vowed his nine-match suspension from international football would not moderate his on-the-edge style.

'I'll just keep running, pressuring and arguing,' he promised. 'With more moderation, just like I do at Barcelona.'

Without their wayward striker, Uruguay have played with Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and got off to a good start in the ten-team Latin American 2018 World Cup qualifying group.

Edison Cavani has filled in for the missing Barca man

Uruguay sit second on nine points from four games, three behind Ecuador but two ahead of Friday's opponents Brazil, Paraguay and continental champions Chile.

'Brazil is the home team and it has major strong points which are in the midfield' reasoned Suarez.

'But we were always strong defensively.'

Not without a certain relish for a striker who moves forward with hunger and gusto Suarez then suggested Brazil had 'defensive weaknesses that we will try to take advantage of.'

Luis Suarez warming up after 20 months out in the cold

The former Liverpool striker said his coach, Oscar Tabarez, had been focussing on the Brazil back-line in tactical briefings.

He also revealed the light-hearted side of the game when he revealed he and Barcelona teammate Neymar were looking forward to the challenge of facing off, with the loser promising to treat the winner to a burger.

'We'll both be doing our best for our countries,' he insisted.

Having started his European playing days in Belgium's northern neighbour the Netherlands at Groningen and Ajax, where he played four seasons, Suarez was asked his thoughts on the terror attacks that left at least 30 dead on Tuesday he described the situation as a nightmare.

A contentious handshake with Patrice Evra

'This is something to worry about all over the world. We are in a very delicate situation in many european countries. This has to stop now, so people can live in peace and this nightmare will be over.'

Before the 2014 World Cup outrage, Suarez had twice previously picked up bans of seven and ten matches for biting rival players.

He was also hit with an eight match suspension for baiting then Manchester United player Patrice Evra with constant references to his ethnic origin.

The hand ball that denied Ghana

Amongst a litany of jaw-dropping incidents perhaps the most memorable was the one which saw him shoot to global fame at the 2010 South African World Cup when diving to save a shot late in a quarter-final with Ghana.

After being sent off he then celebrated wildly in the tunnel after Ghana failed to convert their spot-kick, depriving them of the chance to become the first Africans to make the semi-finals.

But when it comes to goals Suarez can dig them out of the ground and went out to Brazil 2014 as Europe's top scoring striker and was awarded player of the tournament when Uruguay won the 2011 Copa America.