Barcelona and Liverpool legend Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick on his debut for Gremio and helped them start the season with the Recopa Gaucha Super Cup on Tuesday (17 January).
He joined the Brazilian club on a free transfer from Nacional after six months at the Uruguayan club. Suarez began the scoring in the fifth minute of the game with a first-time chipped finish over the opposition goalkeeper.
Sao Luiz equalized nine minutes later before the former Barcelona and Liverpool striker scored with a neat side-footed shot in the 31st minute. He completed his hat-trick seven minutes from the half-time whistle after hitting an unstoppable volleyed shot from inside the box.
The game finished 4-1 and was the perfect start to the 35-year-old's two-year-long stint at Gremio. His contract expires in December 2024.
Luis Suarez made a name for himself at Ajax, Liverpool, and Barcelona as one of the deadliest strikers in European football. With 445 goals and 243 assists in 715 senior games across competitions in his senior career, he is comfortably one of the best players of this generation.
If his debut at Gremio is anything to go by, he isn't quite finished. The 2015-16 UEFA Champions League winner is also active for his national team, for whom he has 68 goals in 137 caps.
Luis Suarez was ineffective at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where Uruguay were eliminated in the group stage of the competition. However, there is a chance that he will continue to represent them for the foreseeable future.
Their next major tournament will be the 2024 Copa America, which commences in June next year.
Former Liverpool and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez explains Nacional decision
Luis Suarez became a free agent last summer when his contract with Atletico Madrid came to an end.
Instead of joining a club in Europe, the former Barcelona and Liverpool striker opted for a sentimental reunion with the club where it all started for him - Nacional. He was on their books from 1998 to 2006, after which he left for FC Groningen.
A little over 16 years later, the Uruguay icon returned to Montevideo to play his football. He explained his decision to MARCA in an interview published on 1 October:
"We decided to return to the team that saw me leave, to which I am very grateful. It was a difficult and complicated decision, because I am close to a World Cup, but I left with the conviction and certainty that I was taking the right step, because I had to set the pace of preparation. Being competitive in any league is not easy."
He scored eight goals and provided three assists in 16 games in his second spell at the club.