Monterrey star Carlos Sanchez has skipped his club’s Liga MX final to be available for a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay in their sole Copa America Centenario warm-up friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
Uruguay welcome Trinidad and Tobago to Montevideo on Friday as they gear up for their Copa campaign, which begins against Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium on June 5.
La Celeste will be without their captain and talisman Suarez, after he sustained a hamstring injury during Barcelona’s Copa del Rey final victory over Sevilla last Sunday.
Suarez – who missed last year’s Copa due to suspension – has joined up with the rest of Oscar Tabarez’s squad, but is not expected to feature in any of Uruguay’s three Group C fixtures.
However, experienced midfielder Sanchez, who has enjoyed a superb debut season with Monterrey, will be available to Tabarez after putting country firmly before club this week.
— Carlos Sanchez (@patosanz_20) May 24, 2016
The 31-year-old has opted to sacrifice his club’s upcoming Liga MX final against Pachuca in favour of reporting for international duty.
In an emotional statement released on Twitter, Sanchez said that he was deeply hurt to be missing such an important tie, but explained: “Because of commitments taken on with the Uruguayan football association before my arrival at this great institution, I left Monday to defend my country’s shirt, which I profoundly love.”
Uruguay forward Abel Hernandez, meanwhile, has opted to do the opposite to Sanchez, by remaining with his club Hull City for their Championship play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday.
Suarez’s absence will likely mean Edinson Cavani taking the mantle of Uruguay’s leading striker, as Tabarez’s side look to continue their excellent recent form.
La Celeste sit top of the South American World Cup qualifying section after six matches and, quite remarkably, have not lost a match on home soil since Argentina won 1-0 at Estadio Centenario in October 2009.
Trinidad and Tobago, meanwhile, go into the match having lost 4-0 to Peru on Monday, although they do sit above United States and top of their World Cup qualifying group.