Luis Suarez reveals heartfelt tribute to Lucas Leiva after scoring for Gremio

Days after Lucas Leiva announced his retirement from football due to a heart issue, long-time team-mate Luis Suarez paid tribute with a goal.

With an irregularity in his heart detected during pre-season tests with Brazilian side Gremio, Lucas was eventually forced to retire as a player.

At 36, the midfielder conceded that his “health comes first,” though it was clearly not an easy decision to make as he revealed the news in a tearful press conference on Friday.

Lucas finished his career, then, with his boyhood club, and for a brief time he again called Suarez a team-mate.

Suarez concluded his time in Europe with Atletico Madrid in 2022, and after a stint with Nacional in his native Uruguay he joined Gremio in December.

So far, the 36-year-old has scored seven goals and laid on three assists in 11 games for the Porto Alegre club, including one against Ypiranga-RS on Sunday.

Opening the scoring with a fine, right-footed finish in the 12th minute, Suarez wheeled away in celebration before lifting his shirt to reveal a tribute to Lucas.

“Lucas, our heart is with you,” the message read.

The entire Gremio side played the Campeonato Gaucho semi-final first-leg tie wearing Lucas’ name on the back of their shirts, with his importance to the club made clear.

Suarez was booked for his gesture, while Gremio went on to lose 2-1 through two late penalties from Ypiranga-RS winger Erick, setting up a tense second leg on Saturday.

Lucas took in the game at home, beginning what he has described as a “restart,” as he showed himself exercising alongside his son, Pedro, on Sunday.

The final of the 2023 Campeonato Gaucho will be held over two legs on April 2 and 9, while the Serie A season begins the following weekend.

Gremio earned promotion back to the Brazilian top flight by finishing second in Serie B last time out, with Lucas scoring in their decisive 3-0 win over Nautico in October.