It was a dream debut for Luis Suarez, as he started his life in Brazil with a hat-trick and a trophy, and Lucas Leiva was watching what was happening, but still could not take part.
Suarez signed with the seventh club in his storied adult career in December when he agreed to a two-year contract to join Brazilian club Gremio.
It meant a reunion with former Liverpool teammate Lucas, although the midfielder is currently out of action after discovering heart problems during pre-season medical tests.
That left Lucas watching from the sidelines as Gremio battled San Luis at the Recop Gauche on Tuesday night, while Suarez made his debut.
Recopa Gaucha is the Brazilian equivalent of the Community Shield, where Gremio’s opponents come out of the fourth tier after San Luis’ victory over Passo Fundo in November.
1… 2… 3X SUÁREZ! ⚽⚽⚽ Que cartão de visita do uruguaio! 🔥🇺🇾 Se liga aí nos gols do artilheiro do Grêmio! pic.twitter.com/oeB6alrC0I
— TNT Sports BR (@TNTSportsBR) January 18, 2023
Given the gulf between the two teams, it’s no surprise that Suarez enjoyed a stunning start to his life on the pitch with Gremio.
The Uruguayan scored his first goal for the Porto Alegre team in just the fifth minute, taking advantage of an unsuccessful defense, intercepting the ball from the goalkeeper with the score 1-0.
San Luis then equalized with the help of Paulinho Santos, but Bitello returned the lead to Gremio, and then two more from Suarez and won.
In the second case, he comfortably punched the space between the two central defenders before scoring a goal, and his third was a successful shot from the summer at the near post.
It was far from the most successful hat-trick of Suarez’s career — sorry, John Ruddy — but it marked a brilliant start to life at his new club.
Lucas was present at the Arena do Gremio and, speaking after the game, hailed his new teammate as a “winning player”, insisting that he “had no doubt that he would come and change the situation.”
Discussing his future as a player, the 36-year-old said that he still has hope that he will be able to return to the field, despite heart problems.
“The doctors asked me to stop for two or three months. After that, it is necessary to calmly retake the exams,” Zona Mista quotes him.
“I have a great hope to return to normal life and play. I’ve never had any symptoms, it’s very positive. I was caught off guard.
“I’m not used to not playing. But I try to look into the present.
“I went to CT, on weekends I enjoyed [time with] my family, trying to see the bright side in this forced stop.”