Uruguay striker Luis Suarez always felt confident he would be fit for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Suarez is on track to return to the national team fold after undergoing surgery on a damaged meniscus in his left knee in May.
However, the Liverpool striker’s place at the World Cup finals had been in doubt initially, having damaged his knee during pre-tournament training last month, with a six-week stint on the sidelines expected.
And while the 27-year-old has missed Uruguay’s past international friendlies against Northern Ireland and Slovenia, he insists he never gave up hope of playing a part at the showpiece event.
“Emotionally, I’ve felt fine; psychologically, I’ve been spectacular,” Suarez said.
“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.
Suarez added: “My objective was clear: be strong emotionally and physically. I wanted my children to be able to see me play at the World Cup.
“If they had said to me that the extent of the injury was greater, I’d have been worried. But knowing the grade of the injury, I was confident. I knew that there was time to make it.”
Suarez is facing a race against time to be fit for Uruguay’s World Cup opener against Group D opponents Costa Rica on June 14.
But he could be ready for the country’s highly anticipated clash with England in Sao Paulo on June 19.
“This is the game everyone is looking forward to most here,” Suarez said.
“It’s incredible to see how Uruguayans have followed Liverpool; they’ve become fans and that makes me feel very proud.
“I’ve already told (Steven) Gerrard that we’ll swap shirts. And Glen (Johnson) will ask for my shirt, I’m sure. Maybe Daniel (Sturridge) and Raheem (Sterling) will as well – I’ll take a few with me.”