Lucas Leiva part of emotional trophy lift after Luis Suarez’s cup final winner

Lucas Leiva was involved in the trophy celebrations as Gremio began their season in style, with Luis Suarez scoring the winner in Sunday’s final.

Ahead of the start of the Brasileiro Serie A league campaign, Gremio made it to the final of the Campeonato Gaucho – the Rio Grande do Sul region’s annual tournament.

After five consecutive triumphs in the competition – bringing them close to record title-holders Internacional, who have won it 45 times – the Porto Alegre outfit made it to the final against Caxias.

The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg on April 1, two weeks after their midfield leader, Lucas, announced his retirement due to health issues.

Sunday brought the second leg at the Arena do Gremio, with Suarez scoring the only goal of the game from the spot to clinch a 2-1 aggregate victory, with both sides reduced to 10 men.

It is the second trophy of Gremio’s season already, having already won the Recopa Gaucha – Rio Grande do Sul’s version of the Community Shield.

Lucas and his family were present at the game, and joined the celebrations on the pitch as emotional scenes unfolded.

The 36-year-old was forced to retire last month after heart complications were detected during pre-season checks, depriving him of a final season with his boyhood club.

His involvement in the trophy lift will have been bittersweet, then, but showed how valuable Lucas is to Gremio and his team-mates.

Along with Suarez, former Man United full-back Fabio is now part of the Gremio squad, having made the switch from Nantes to his native Brazil in January.

Gremio have now won the Campeonato Gaucho six times in a row and 42 in total, with their Brasileiro Serie A campaign due to kick off at home to Santos on April 16.