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This month’s edition of the Barça Magazine, available in Catalan or Spanish, features some fascinating photographs of Luis Suárez at FC Barcelona long before he actually signed for the club. They are clear proof that when the Uruguayan spoke of how joining the club was a childhood dream come true, he wasn’t merely feeding clichéd sound-bites to the Catalan media. He truly has always been a dedicated Barça supporter, and has been a frequent visitor to games at the Camp Nou for several years.
The photos show the striker visiting the stadium like any other tourist in the company of his girlfriend at the time, Sofía, now his wife and mother of his children. He’s seen buying souvenirs in the club shop and posing for photos with image of the team’s biggest stars of the era, including Ronaldinho. Looking back those pictures, he now says that “I could never have imagined back then that one day I would be playing in such a magnificent stadium.”
Suárez explains how he started out in football in his native country and left Montevideo when he was just 19 years old to join Groningen in Holland, details that will be revealed in full when his autobiography is released in early November.
Having also played for Ajax and Liverpool, the 27-year-old joined Barça this summer shortly after setting a Premiership record of 31 goals in one season, enough to win him the European Golden Shoe award, which he is due to receive from Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish on Wednesday in Barcelona. His suspension is due to end on October 25, meaning he’ll be available for selection in the clásico at Real Madrid the day after. His appearances in two international friendlies for Uruguay against Saudi Arabia and Oman this week have provided the ideal opportunity to get some match practice before the big day.
Visit to La Masia
The Suárez article also pictorially describes how he was taken on a visit to La Masia, the FC Barcelona academy and residence, where he was shown around by pedagogic coordinator Rubén Bonastre, visiting such locations as the study rooms, the dining room and the common leisure areas, as well as playing foosball in the garden. “I am amazed and surprised by the facilities” he said. “And the spaces where the children are looked after in every way, with their studies, their diet, their timetables. It’s all been a surprise for me, especially how well behaved the children are. If wish I had the chance to be raised like this.”
Finally pulling on the Barça shirt to face Real Madrid later this month really will be a dream true for the club’s star summer signing.
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