RIO DE JANEIRO – Veteran Luis Suarez (age 37) scored 17 goals in the Brazilian league as Gremio finished their campaign second behind title winners Palmeiras. Suarez partnered Argentine wizard Lionel Messi for several seasons at Spanish side Barcelona and played for English side Liverpool and Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam.
Suarez beat Fluminense 3-2 in the final stages of the tournament in a thrilling match at the famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Atletico Mineiro striker Paulinho won the competition’s top scorer award after scoring 20 goals last season.
Suarez often said he feared he would not be able to finish the season in Brazil due to severe knee pain and long flight problems, but a select panel of journalists voted him to win the Ballon d’Or. Suarez made 53 appearances for Gremio across various competitions, during which he scored 26 goals this season.
After receiving the award from Diego Lugano, his former teammate in the Uruguayan national team, he tearfully said, “I am almost 37 years old and this is the year I have played the most matches. Sports career “Most of the time. This award belongs to you” was also the year I was away from my family.
But when asked about his future, he did not answer, but said that he will remember not only Gremio fans, but also fans of other clubs who respect him as a competitor. Suarez pointed out, “It’s hard to see the opposing fans applauding you when you’re playing… It’s happened to me in some stadiums, it’s the player’s mind, no matter how old he is. You have to have the mindset and commitment to play and do what you love”.
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