World Football

Luis Suarez to Make Uruguay Return vs. Brazil After Giorgio Chiellini Bite Ban

Uruguayan football player Luis Suarez (C) is surrounded by Omani fans following a training session on October 12, 2014, at Buraimi sports stadium in Oman, on on the eve of their friendly match against Oman. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED MAHJOUB        (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP/Getty Images)
MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2016

Luis Suarez is expected to make his return to international duty against Brazil on Friday, March 25, after serving a nine-match ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup (h/t Goal).

The date of the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Uruguay and Brazil was moved from March 24 to March 25, with Suarez hoping to make a timely comeback and aid his country's campaign hopes.

Luis Suarez won a European and domestic treble in his first season at Barca.
Luis Suarez won a European and domestic treble in his first season at Barca.PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images

It's been more than 18 months since Suarez was handed a nine-match ban as well as a four-month suspension from all football activity in relation to what was the third biting incident of his career.

The Barcelona talisman's return could hardly be better timed as far as Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez is concerned, with his team currently second in CONMEBOL qualifying, two points ahead of Brazil.

Suarez was given a nine-match ban after the third biting incident of his career.
Suarez was given a nine-match ban after the third biting incident of his career.JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

Uruguay's only defeat of the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign thus far came against leaders Ecuador in November, and that 2-1 loss also happened to produce the only goals Tabarez's men have conceded.

Controversial forward Suarez has been in stellar form at the Camp Nou this season after netting 31 goals in 32 games for the Blaugrana, the latest of which came in Friday evening's 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid.

The South American is once again steering Luis Enrique's side to a serious La Liga title challenge, and there's a good chance he'll come up against club team-mate Neymar in the March encounter with the Selecao.

Suarez is competing with another La Liga ace, Cristiano Ronaldo, in the hunt for this season's Pichichi award—Spain's version of the Golden Boot—but Spanish daily Sport argued the former's contribution has meant more than that of his Real Madrid counterpart:

Even without Suarez in the squad, Uruguay have amassed the best goals record in CONMEBOL qualification, scoring a joint-high nine goals while conceding a joint-low two, both level with Ecuador.

La Celeste can hope to make a dart for pole position should they beat Brazil next month considering Ecuador have tough fixtures against Paraguay (home) and Colombia (away) next on their agenda.

In hindsight, Suarez's nine-match break from the national team may come to have a rejuvenating effect on not only him but also the squad as a whole, with undoubtedly their best asset back and raring to go.

Spending time away from his international team-mates may have worked in giving Suarez new drive and ambition to succeed in the national team as he does with Barcelona, and Brazil will be the first nation in his sights.

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