Luis Suarez retirement rumors concern Gremio teammates

Luis Suárez's teammates at Gremio and the Brazilian club's president expressed concern Wednesday after media speculation that the striker is on the verge of retirement because of persistent knee pain.

The 36-year-old former Barcelona and Liverpool striker has not commented on Brazilian media reports this week, but Gremio president Alberto Guerra, defender Reinaldo and midfielder João Paulo Bitello have spoken publicly about the veteran player's difficulties in training and matches. His right knee is his main injury concern.

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"[He needs] a lot of injections, a lot of medicine," Guerra told reporters during an event at the club's stadium. "It is reaching a limit. But we don't know where that limit is, when is his last [match]."

Guerra said Suárez could even need knee replacement surgery at some stage.

Despite the speculation, the Uruguay striker is expected to play for Gremio against America in the Brazilian league game on Thursday.

Bitello said Suárez "complains about his pain, he has an overload in his legs, he sacrifices himself," adding that the player has to put his health first.

"If that [retirement] happens it will be a huge loss for us. We get along very well, he is a great player. But his health comes before everything else," Bitello told Radio Bandeirantes. "He has [had] a beautiful career and we have to take care for this injury not to get worse.

"He never talked about retirement, but during training sessions he complains about pain."

Reinaldo said he and his teammates "are enjoying every moment" with Suárez.

"We hope he can carry on this year and in the next one," Reinaldo said. "He is a player that helps us a lot day-to-day and during matches."

Suárez joined Gremio in December. He has played 25 matches for the southern Brazil team and scored 11 goals. His contract is due to expire at the end of 2024.

He had been linked with a reunion with former Barca teammate Lionel Messi at MLS club Inter Miami SC, but Suarez rejected that idea as "impossible" earlier this month.