In this exclusive interview with Champions Matchday, Luis Suárez discusses his "dream" of playing for FC Barcelona, his street football roots, and his innate will to win.
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"I've always wanted to play here. It was a dream come true," said Luis Suárez of his summer move to FC Barcelona. Coming off the back of a golden boot-winning season in England, his addition to a forward line already containing Neymar and Lionel Messi seemed liked the stuff of dreams to the rest of us too. The 28-year-old has certainly found his groove, with the Blaugrana now many people's favourites to win the UEFA Champions League in Berlin come June. He spoke to Champions Matchday.
Champions Matchday: How do you feel you have settled into the team since arriving last summer?
Luis Suárez: Everything is fine. In the first few months you have to get to know your new team-mates, but I am very happy with everything here now.
Champions Matchday: Was the chance to win the UEFA Champions League a big motivating factor in your move?
Suárez: Of course. Barcelona are always a candidate to win the Champions League. That's a plus here, as the clubs I've played for before didn't really have the chance to win big [European] trophies – maybe a domestic league or cup.
Champions Matchday: What's it like playing alongside players of the calibre of Lionel Messi and Neymar?
Suárez: It is about adapting to the way they play and the moves they make, and trying to make things easier for them. They are incredible players, but you work to support the team regardless of who is playing that day. Everybody feels comfortable in their role of helping Messi and Neymar play their best game. There are situations where we have maybe two or three players in attack to distract the defence.
Champions Matchday: How do you assess Barcelona's chances in the UEFA Champions League? Can this team win the final in Berlin?
Suárez: Playing in a team like this, where all the players want to win every match and everything, that is a sign that it's all about silverware – whether it's the Champions League, the Liga or whichever trophy's available. We have a chance of making the final.
Champions Matchday: Let's go back to when you started playing football – how did you get into the sport?
Suárez: Well, I always wanted to win and to play with my friends and beat them at the age of five or six. I never liked to lose. I've been obsessed by football since I was young. I remember I made a lot of effort to go and train and play matches – that effort I've made since I was young, that has made me the person I am today.
Champions Matchday: As a boy, you played football on the streets of Montevideo. Has that shaped you as a player?
Suárez: It has definitely shaped me. Playing without shoes on the street, making balls out of paper ... those are things that you learn from, from a young age. They give you something even now, and you try and rise to the occasion.