Uruguay and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is confident he will play at the World Cup as he makes a cautious return to fitness after knee surgery.
The 27-year-old has been building up the muscles around his left knee, which sustained meniscus damage and needed to be operated on just two weeks before Uruguay’s first World Cup group game.
Suarez revealed that his key motivation for returning to fitness was so his children could watch him play in the tournament, and despite being in a race against time to achieve match fitness, he remains focused on starring in Brazil.
“Emotionally, I’ve felt fine; psychologically, I’ve been spectacular,” Suarez told several national newspapers.
“At no time did I feel pressured. At no time have I felt sad because at no point did I think there was a chance of me missing the World Cup. The thought never went through my mind.
“I could have really cried (in pain) because of this injury but I didn’t, because I knew. I knew. When the doctor first spoke to me three little tears fell, but no more. My wife said, ‘I can’t believe how strong you’re being’ but I knew I’d make it.
“Injuries are not only a physical question, which is the most important thing of course, but also a question of your mind. If you’re thinking, ‘I’m not going to make it’, ‘I can’t cope’, ‘It hurts’, ‘It’s never going to get better’, then it won’t.
“My objective was clear: Be strong emotionally and physically. I wanted my children to be able to see me play at the World Cup.
“If they had said to me that the extent of the injury was greater, I’d have been worried. But knowing the grade of the injury, I was confident. I knew that there was time to make it.”
Uruguay have been drawn in Group D, where they will face Costa Rica, Italy and England.
Their first match is against Costa Rica on June 14 before they face Roy Hodgson’s England on June 19. They then complete their group games against Italy five days later.