Deal Imminent For Luis Suarez To Reunite With Lionel Messi At Inter Miami

MESSI AND SUAREZ

LAGOS DECEMBER 6TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Inter Miami fans are about to get a long-awaited holiday gift, as Uruguayan star forward Luis Suarez is expected to join the club in the coming weeks after playing his last home match for Brazilian team Gremio and bidding a tearful farewell to its adoring fans.

According to multiple MLS sources with knowledge of the negotiations, a deal is imminent, but Suarez has not yet agreed to terms or signed anything with Miami because Gremio still has its season finale on the road against Fluminense this week.

Suarez, who was Lionel Messi’s teammate at FC Barcelona and remains one of his closest friends, is expected to sign a one-year deal. He could be slotted as a designated player, or the the club could use targeted allocation money (TAM) to keep his salary below the DP threshold and keep that slot open for another player. Clubs have until late-February to make their final roster designations.

All teams are allowed up to three designated players, whose salaries exceed the league’s maximum salary budget charge ($651,250 in 2023). Clubs also can use their annual TAM allotment to bolster their rosters and buy down existing contracts to open space for new high-priced players. In 2024, the TAM amount available is $2.4 million, which would allow Inter Miami to add Suarez to a roster that already includes marquee players such as Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba.

Suarez, who turns 37 in January, played in Gremio’s final home game of the Brasileirao season on Saturday and scored the game’s only goal against Vasco da Gama. After the game, in the driving rain, he did a lap around the field to say goodbye to the local fans as they chanted his name. He then was joined by his wife and three children in the middle of the field for an emotional ending to this chapter of his storied career.

He later posted this message on social media:

“My family and I want to thank everyone for the love and we lived it (Saturday) in the Arena Do Gremio. It was an incredible, unforgettable day that we will take in our hearts forever.”

Suarez joined Gremio in 2023 on a two-year deal, but once Messi signed with Miami in July, rumors intensified that Suarez would leave Brazil and join Messi. He negotiated a deal with Gremio to let him out of his contract a year early.

Although he has been battling chronic knee issues, and recently told Uruguayan radio station 890 Sport that he takes pills and injections to manage the pain, Suarez played 52 games and 4,557 minutes this season. He scored 15 goals in 32 league games for Gremio. He contributed 24 goals and 17 assists this year during all competitions.

His off-field impact was massive.

Gremio’s club membership (season tickets) spiked from 60,000 at the start of the season to more than 100,000. Merchandise sales also got a huge boost.

The Brazilian club had suffered a few lean years, but the addition of Suarez made the team a contender again and the fan base is energized.

Despite the success and adoration in Brazil, Suarez has long been linked to Inter Miami and reportedly is eager to reunite with Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, as the foursome were part of a legendary Barcelona squad.

Suarez and Messi played at Barcelona together from 2014 to 2020 and were among the most dangerous duos in recent memory. Along with Alba and Busquets they won the UEFA Champions League and Club World Cup in 2015 and won four league titles.

Asked a few weeks ago about Suarez’s long-rumored move to Inter Miami, the club’s sporting director Chris Henderson said: “He’s currently with Gremio, so we don’t want to comment on a player who is not on our roster. He is a player who has always been linked with our team and it’s great to have great players around the world connected with Inter Miami and wanting to come here.”

The 2023 MLS Cup is Saturday between Los Angeles FC and the Columbus Crew. The 2024 preseason camp opens January 10. Miami will kick off its preseason schedule with a Jan. 19 exhibition road match against El Salvador’s national team. The game will be played at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador at 8 p.m.

The club plans to play four to six preseason matches, including a few overseas. The MLS season begins the last week of February. The full 2024 MLS schedule is expected to be released later this month. Inter Miami’s season-ticket allotment for 2024 is sold out.

Miami Herald

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Posted by on Dec 6 2023. Filed under National, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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