Sports

Luis Suarez Wins Golden Ball As Brazilian League's Best Player After Season With Runners-Up Gremio

Luis Suarez netted 17 goals for Gremio in the Brazilian league, and 26 overall across three competitions this season. Palmeiras defended their title and Atletico Mineiro forward Paulinho was the top-scorer with 20 goals

Luis Suarez in action for Gremio.
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Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, a former teammate of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, won the golden ball as the player of the season in the Brazilian league. (Football News)

The 37-year-old Suarez, who played with Messi in Spain after several seasons at Liverpool and Ajax, scored 17 goals for Brazilian league runner-up Gremio. The season ended Wednesday with Palmeiras defending its title.

Suarez scored two goals on the final day of the season in a 3-2 victory over Fluminense at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilian league's top scorer was Atletico Mineiro forward Paulinho with 20 goals.

Suarez said many times he feared he could not finish the season in Brazil because of intense knee pain and the hassle of long flights, but a selection of journalists voted for him to win the golden ball award.

Suarez played 53 matches for Gremio and scored 26 goals in three competitions this season.

“I am almost 37 years old, this is the year I played the most times in my career. It was also the year I was most often distant from my family. This award belongs to them,” a tearful Suarez said Thursday after receiving the trophy from former national team teammate Diego Lugano.

When asked about his future, however, Suarez did not respond. But he said he will remember not only Gremio fans, but also those of other clubs who respected him as an opponent.

“It is hard to see rival fans here applaud you when you play, and that did happen to me in some places,” Suarez said. 

"This is all about the player's mind, it doesn't matter how old they are. It could be Endrick at age 17, Hulk, Suarez ... The mindset and the commitment have to be there for you to play and do what you like."

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