MONTEVIDEO (AFP) – Thousands of fans turned out to welcome home Luis Suarez yesterday as the star striker joined Nacional, the club where he began his storied career 17 years ago.
Suarez, 35, admitted he was “nervous” and “emotional” after touching down at Montevideo’s international airport just before 11am where he was met by family members, friends, club authorities and even some celebrity fans.
Having arrived on a private jet, Suarez left the airport in a procession towards Nacional’s Gran Parque Central stadium for his official presentation. Local press have described this as the most important signing in Uruguayan football history.
In his first interview, Suarez thanked the fans whose massive social media campaign to bring him back proved decisive in his decision.
“I’m here for them, thank you to them and to all the supporters,” he told DirecTV.
According to Nacional, the #SuarezANacional (Suarez to Nacional) hashtag launched by fans was used 50 million times across 35 countries.
“I’m convinced that this is the right step to the right club and in the right country to prepare for the World Cup,” added Suarez.