Paolo Guerrero is planning to give Mile Jedinak a “big hug” when Peru take on Australia at the World Cup on Tuesday.
Prior to the start of the tournament, Socceroos skipper Jedinak, along with fellow Group C captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, asked FIFA to permit Guerrero to play in Russia.
The Peru striker was set to miss his country’s first World Cup in 36 years after the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to uphold an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency to extend his ban to 14 months after a positive test for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.
The following week a Swiss tribunal agreed to provisionally suspend the sanction, and Guerrero expressed his gratitude for the role Jedinak played.
“I haven’t had a chance to thank him personally. I hope to do that tomorrow,” Guerrero said in Sochi on Monday.
“I hope we will cross paths. I’ve publicly thanked him. I’m so terribly grateful to him. For every footballer, we have to support each other. I want to give him a big hug.”
— Selección Peruana (@SeleccionPeru) June 24, 2018
Australia must defeat already-eliminated Peru if they are to follow France into the last 16 of the World Cup.
Guerrero is unclear what lies ahead of him beyond the competition, but insisted he will continue to battle against his ban as he looks to maintain a role in the Peru set-up.
He said: “The future, it has nothing to do with anything. I can continue playing after the World Cup. I don’t know how long the suspension will last.
“I will keep fighting for my career. I don’t know if it will be my last World Cup match. I feel I can contribute in the future. I will fight until the end for my national team. We have the expectation to go back home with three points. We want to make everyone happy.
“I have a contract [with Flamengo] until August. I’m now here in Russia. I will have to return to Brazil with Flamengo. I don’t know what will happen after August.
“[It’s a] complicated situation for me. I don’t want to go into that. I’m focused on doing a good job. I’m really focused. I’m feeling fit.”
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