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Lugano: Our boy Luis Suarez is up for a firefight!

Lugano: Our boy Luis Suarez is up for a firefight!

Posted by Juan Gavasa on June 07, 2014

Lugano repeats what the Premier League already knows, that Suarez is special, but reveals what makes him so dangerous.

Even the worrying knee injury that needed an operation and threatened Suarez's place in the World Cup won't hinder him, according to Lugano.

"That character, that fire inside, is what makes Suarez different. You could see it from an early age," he said.

"You can have many skills but if you do not have that sacred fire inside, something that you cannot be trained to have, or get at the gym, or take vitamins for, then you will never have it.

"Suarez has it and it makes him different. It makes him a winner, competitive, and it is a pleasure for us to have him as a team-mate."

Suarez scored 31 league goals for Liverpool last season and has 39 in 77 games for his country to make him Uruguay's all-time top scorer.

He rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best footballer on the planet and Lugano, with 92 caps and a national legend in his own right, says: "With his hunger for glory, that sacred fire, there are not many like Suarez. He fights for every ball, does not give one up, very competitive, a winner."

Lugano, having had a less than successful season at West Brom, only playing the odd game and looking slow in central defence - something England should exploit - knows Suarez was reviled in Britain for his antics.

But he said: "Suarez is a good team-mate, a good friend, and a good rival, as a world-class player should be. He is a proper Uruguayan and he has certain attributes that are beyond mere football qualities.

"We, his team-mates, see them. We recognise them and are grateful for the way that he is.

"In the world of football we are more than used to seeing team-mates that are more friends with a rival than with their own players. That is not the case with Suarez. He defends his team-mates on the pitch, and as captain of the team it makes me proud to have a player of that character and that fire."

Uruguay playing in the World Cup in Brazil will stoke up Suarez's fires, says Lugano, a bit like it would be if Scotland were playing England in the World Cup at Wembley.

England need to be careful of the tradition, the expectation, the passion of Uruguay in Group D. They meet them in the middle game of the three, after Italy and before Costa Rica, in San Paulo in 12 days' time.

"We are the seeded team in the group and we are the worst off because we are facing two former world champions, two national sides, England and Italy," said Lugano.

"The other nation, Costa Rica, have improved a lot and qualified without any problems. We have a rivalry with them, we are the top seeded team and have the biggest travelling distances in Brazil.

"It all means a very tough group, a great challenge for all of us to go through. The only way we can make it is to be a solid team again, taking full advantage of our attacking players.

"It is the first time in history that three former World Cup champions are in the same group and it will probably be the last time. We will face it with excitement."

The expectation on Uruguay comes from reaching the World Cup semi-finals the last time in South Africa and beating Argentina to win the Copa America three years ago.

Their threat comes from an attacking trio of Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan.

"The South African World Cup is a great memory for all Uruguayans," said Lugano, who has less good, more recent memories of West Brom after being released with a year left on his contract.

"Uruguay was once again a candidate in world football, as the tradition of football in Uruguay would have it.

"Historically, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are big rivals in South America, the first World Cup in history was between Argentina and Uruguay and we won it.

"It is in history that Uruguayan football rises from the ashes and we got to these finals after a slump in the qualifying group where we had fallen to seventh. There were five games left, three away against direct rivals, and everyone thought we were not going to Brazil.

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