Luis Suarez was crying tears of joy at full-time after guiding Uruguay to a 2-1 victory over England at the World Cup on Thursday night.
It was a moment of redemption for the 27-year-old forward, revealing after the game that it was sweet revenge for all the criticism he has received in England since moving to Liverpool in 2011.
Luis Suarez may not be the greatest player ever but, Maradona aside, I'm struggling to think of anyone who matches him for sheer will to win
— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) June 20, 2014
Suarez gave Uruguay a first-half lead when he headed home Edinson Cavani’s chipped through-ball.
Wayne Rooney levelled things up for England with 15 minutes to go, slotting home Glen Johnson’s low cross, but Suarez struck again with a stunning finish past Joe Hart 5 minutes from time.
“Before the game, too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years,” Suarez told the media after the game.
“This is a very good time for me. I want to see what they think now.”
Suarez understandably took immense pleasure in beating the Football Association’s pride and joy, England, after the lengthly bans he has been served in recent years.
Suarez was suspended for eight games following his race row with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in 2011, and then 10 more games when he bit the arm of Chelsea‘s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013.
“It has been like a dream,” he continued. “It is something I have dreamt about very often. It was one of the best games I’ve played.
“It’s an amazing moment for me. Maybe a few days ago I thought this wouldn’t be possible.”
If Luís Suarez isn't a world class footballer, then I'm a zebra.
— Chris Millington (@ChrisJohnMilly) June 20, 2014
Suarez missed Uruguay’s opening World Cup game — a 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica — due to injury, but he was delighted to recover in time to face England.
He added, “I had to keep calm, keep my cool and when I got the ball I just kicked it with my whole heart thinking of all those who have supported me.
“I would like to say thank you to my wife and my two children, my physiotherapist Walter Ferreira and my team-mates.”
Suarez did have some words of sympathy for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who looked dejected as the pair embraced at full-time.
“This is an unlucky moment for him,” Suarez said. “I don’t like it when he hurts like this. I said, ‘Keep going, forget this game, you’re one of the best’. He’s the best player I’ve played with.”