20,000 Nacional fans wear Suarez masks as striker linked with return to his first club

What would you do to help ensure a club legend returns for one last hurrah?

Well, Nacional fans went above and beyond after being linked with a move to sign Luis Suarez. Approximately 20,000 of them wore Suarez masks at a game on Thursday.

The Uruguay international, 35, is a free agent after leaving Atletico Madrid when his contract expired this summer.

The former Liverpool and Barcelona striker has reportedly been offered to German side Borussia Dortmund.

But reports back in his homeland suggested Suarez is set to return to where it all began. A short-term deal, at least until the World Cup begins in November, is understood to be in the pipeline.

He made his professional debut for Nacional aged 18, in 2005, helping them with the Uruguayan league title to earn a move to Europe with Groningen the following season.

On Thursday, Nacional officials told a local journalist that “except for a catastrophe”, Suarez would rejoin El Club Gigante (The Giant Club) within 48 hours.

The club then tweeted ‘what do you say wizard?’ with a picture of a sign reading #SuarezANacional (Suarez to Nacional) being held by a statue of tango singer-songwriter Carlos Gardel, which is inside their Gran Parque Central stadium.

#SuarezANacional then became a social media campaign, mobilising fans to show just how much they wanted Suarez to return.

In a few hours, the large quantity of Suarez masks were produced and another 15,000 sheets reading #SuarezANacional, to be displayed at their Primera Division home game against Cerrito.

More than 20,000 fans attended, way more than expected, and the masks and signs were distributed to them as they came into the Gran Parque Central.

Then in the ninth minute, to mark the number Suarez wore while playing for Barca and Atleti over the last eight years, fans wore them and held them aloft while chanting ‘Ole, ole, ole, ole, Lucho, Lucho’.

If this is how Nacional fans react when he might sign, imagine when it’s a done deal.

Original article published 22.07.2022 on the BBC Sport website.

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