Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez felt Luis Suarez did not look like a man who had just missed a month with a knee injury as the forward made a goalscoring return on Friday.
Suarez had not played since Barcelona’s torrid 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final second leg in early May, undergoing surgery on a troublesome knee problem.
But he came off the bench shortly after the hour in Montevideo, netting a fine free-kick to help his country to a 3-0 friendly win over Panama.
With their Copa America opener against Ecuador just over a week away, Tabarez was thrilled to see his talisman make such a smooth transition back into competitive action.
“For us he is a crucial player, he has been sending us videos from his recovery and they have been amazing,” Tabarez said.
“Today he looked as if he had played seven, eight games before this one.
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) June 8, 2019
“This is what he is, he has a great commitment with football for this nation, and a lot of desire to repeat triumphs from the past. So, based on what I saw today, I can assure he will contribute to the team.
“Can he endure 90 minutes on the pitch? I will know it when we play against Ecuador.”
Uruguay skipper Diego Godin added: “Yes, Luis is OK, his recovery has been perfect. Obviously those were the first minutes, he will be getting better this week because he just started to train with other players last week, so he will start the Copa in top condition and that is good news for us.”
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