End of an era for the strike duo of Uruguay Suarez and Cavani

For the past decade and a half, Uruguay’s national football team has been led by a formidable attacking duo, but now veterans Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are heading into their final World Cup with retirement looming ever closer.

Born just 21 days apart in the northern part of Salto, the two 35-year-olds have graced some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs, while never failing to light up the shores of their homeland.

Their remarkable careers have left them as the top two goalscorers in the history of the Celeste national team: Suarez has 68 goals in 134 games with Cavani scoring 58 in 133 games.

For the better part of 15 years they were the pillars of a lucky Uruguay outfit that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 before winning the Copa America the following year.

This will be the fourth World Cup and despite their advanced years they remain heroes to their countrymen.

They are “the best forward pairing in Celeste history,” ESPN reporter Diego Munoz told AFP.

“They put their egos aside, always put the team first and strengthened each other. (They were) essential to a generation that gave back the national team and hope to the world.”

Once their boots are hung up for good, they will be sorely missed.

The attacking duo guaranteed “an important scoring opportunity that Celeste has rarely had, at least in the last 60 years,” said journalist Luis Prats, author of several books on soccer history.

“Relying on them gave you the confidence that you could win even tough games with few chances. You just had to give them the ball and they got it done.

Moreover, they had a great understanding: Cavani created many of Suarez’s goals and vice versa.

– Passing the baton –

The Qatar World Cup will bring to an end a transformative era under iconic former coach Oscar Tabares, who spent 15 years at the helm and brought glory to a team that had not won the Copa America since 1995 or reached a World Cup semi-final Cup. since 1970.

But Cavani says there will be no special feeling in this tournament.

“For those who live, feel and love football, and more so for those who wear the shirt of their country, there is no mystery: it is a World Cup,” Cavani told a local radio station.

“Whether it’s the first or the fifth” makes no difference. “If that doesn’t motivate you, we’re in trouble.”

Neither Suarez nor Cavani are the players they once were.

Having played for Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, Cavani is currently in a Valencia side that is a shadow of the side of the early 2000s, when they won two La Liga titles and reached back-to-back Champions League finals League.

And after Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Suarez stunned the football world earlier this year by returning to his first professional club, Nacional.

But Suarez is as competitive and confident as ever.

“We have a mix of experienced and quality players — I think Uruguay can have a great World Cup,” he said.

Under new coach Diego Alonso, Uruguay are building a new squad of talent with Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde, Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Rodrigo Bendancur.

Even so, there is something unique about the Suarez-Cavani partnership that may never be repeated.

“It’s very difficult to find a Suarez-Cavani duo,” said Pratz.

Although new talent has appeared on the horizon, “they still have to complete their development.”

But Munoz points to the fact that alongside Diego Godin, Suarez and Cavani took over the mantle from Diego Forlan and Diego Lugano when they retired.

“The key is to keep the legacy and learn to play without them, modify the power axis towards the midfield and Valverde-Bentancur to lead the next generation,” Munoz said.

gv/ol/bc/as

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *