Luis Suarez claims he has ‘matured’ ahead of the 2018 World Cup, having caused a lot of controversies in his previous tournaments.
In 2010, Suarez deliberately handled the ball on the line to deny Ghana a winner against Uruguay in the quarter final, before vibrantly celebrating after the African side missed the resulting penalty.
Four years later in Brazil, he got a four month suspension from football and a nine-game international ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini in a group game against Italy.
Now Suarez is ready for a third World Cup, but the striker, now 31, says he has outgrown his past misdemeanours – although he promised that his confrontational style of play would not be softened.
Speaking at a press conference, Suarez said: ‘Any player dreams of playing in and winning a World Cup.
‘Now South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 are in the past. I arrive with other expectations, other players and other sensations that motivate you to go far in the World Cup. The games are very demanding and I have matured a lot.
‘Despite changing in some aspects, my way of playing will be exactly the same because that’s how I live football and how I’m like.’
Suarez moved to Barcelona after the 2014 World Cup and has won several trophies in his time at the Nou Camp.
With Barca seemingly poised to sign Antoine Griezmann, there has been talk that Suarez will be sold – however the Uruguayan is ignoring the speculation.
He said: ‘I’m thinking about the World Cup and have been for some time, so I’m not focused on Barcelona exit rumours.’
Suarez was also reluctant to speculate on Uruguay’s chances of wining a first World Cup since 1950, instead focusing on getting out of Group A, featuring Egypt, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia.
He said: ‘The candidates are always the same: Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina, France. There are others like Belgium, which is the second World Cup for the same generation.
‘For Uruguay, it is easy to say that we will go to win the World Cup, the difficult thing is to do it. So we better go with the typical sentence of going match by match. First, we have to pass the group stage.’