FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The long-awaited reunion of Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi is now a reality, after the Uruguayan striker signed with Inter Miami on Friday for the 2024 season.
Suárez and Messi spent six seasons together at Barcelona, winning four Spanish league titles and nine other trophies — including a Champions League title — in that span. Suárez is coming off a season where he was best player and best striker in the Brazilian league with Gremio.
“I’m very happy and excited to take on this new challenge with Inter Miami,” Suárez said. “I can’t wait to get started, and I’m ready to work to make the dream of winning more titles with this great club a reality. I’m optimistic about what we can achieve together with our shared ambition.”
There had been speculation for months that Suárez would join Inter Miami, especially given his relationship with Messi. Inter Miami won its first trophy — the Leagues Cup — last season shortly after Messi arrived, his signing part of an overhaul that brought elite talent like Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to the club, along with coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino. Busquets and Alba also played for Barcelona alongside Messi, and Martino is a former Barcelona coach.
Now, Suárez joins that mix. He turns 37 in January — Messi is 36, Busquets is 35 and Alba turns 35 in March, so Inter Miami will surely have some workloads to manage. And Suárez has struggled with intense knee pain, but clearly the lure of playing with Messi again was too strong to ignore.
“Luis is a fierce competitor whose winning drive embodies what we want out of our players,” Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas said. “We promised our fans we would pursue the world’s best players to build a squad that can compete at the highest echelons in the Americas. Coming off an award-winning season in Brazil, Luis will be a key addition to our roster.”
Suárez brings a colorful and successful history to Inter Miami.
With Suárez, Uruguay ended 20 years of World Cup underachievement by reaching the semifinals in 2010. He helped deliver Uruguay’s first Copa America title in 16 years in 2011. He was instrumental in Atletico Madrid’s first Spanish title in seven years in 2021.
He also is known for an infamous intentional handball in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals to take a semifinal spot from Ghana and served bans on three occasions for biting opponents — the most recent of those in 2014, after he chomped down on the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini following a tussle in the penalty area during a World Cup match.
“I will give my all to bring joy to these great fans I’ve heard so much about while I wear Inter Miami colors, and look forward to reuniting with great friends and players,” Suárez said. “I’m also eager to meet my new teammates and coaches.”
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