Suarez Makes Comeback for Uruguay as Cavani Sidelined with Injury

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani (Reuters)

Uruguay’s record goalscorer Luis Suarez received his first call-up under new coach Marcelo Bielsa who named the 36-year-old in his squad to face Argentina this week in a 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Uruguay’s record scorer Luis Suarez is back in the squad for the first time since the World Cup after being called up on Monday for their next two qualifiers but Edinson Cavani is out injured.

Suarez, with 68 international goals to his name, has been in superb form for Brazilian club Gremio with 16 goals in 29 games but has not featured for Uruguay since Bielsa took over in May.

Thursday’s match against Argentina will be his first for the national team since they were eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar in the group stages last year.

If he plays, Suarez is likely to come up against his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi who scored both goals in the qualifier against Peru last month that ended 2-0.

Marcelo Bielsa’s 24-man list also included fellow striker Edinson Cavani but he has withdrawn after a muscle injury in Boca Juniors’ 1-0 win over Newell’s Old Boys on Sunday.

Mexican club Leon’s Federico Vinas has therefore been drafted in as a late replacement.

Second-placed Uruguay, who have seven points, visit South American qualifying leaders Argentina, with 12, on Thursday and host bottom side Bolivia the following Tuesday.

The 36-year-old Suarez, who played his last game for Uruguay in the 2-0 win over Ghana in December at the World Cup, has made 137 international appearances, scoring 68 goals.

Uruguay failed to get past the group stage in Qatar.

The striker could return to the top of the all-time South American World Cup qualifying scoring charts, where he trails Argentina’s Lionel Messi by two goals with a total of 31.

Another record within reach is the number of games played for Uruguay in World Cup qualifiers, currently held by Diego Godin with 65 appearances, three more than the Gremio forward.

Uruguay squad:

Goalkeepers: Sergio Rochet (Internacional), Franco Israel (Sporting), Santiago Mele (Junior)

Defenders: Ronald Araujo (Barcelona), Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Bruno Mendez(Corinthians), Sebastian Caceres (America), Matias Vina (Sassuolo)

Midfielders: Guillermo Varela (Flamengo), Mathias Olivera (Napoli), Manuel Ugarte (Paris St Germain), Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham Hotspur), Felipe Carballo (Gremio), Nicolas de la Cruz (River Plate), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Flamengo), Agustin Canobbio (Athletico Paranaense), Maximiliano Araujo (Toluca), Facundo Pellistri (Manchester United), Facundo Torres (Orlando City)

Strikers: Cristian Olivera (Los Angeles FC), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool), Federico Vinas (Leon), Luis Suarez (Gremio)

(With inputs from Agencies)