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Suarez: 'One of the world's most lethal strikers'

Luis Suarez has been making a big impact in the Premier League. He is one of a number of top Uruguayan stars who ply their trade in other countries.

In fact, none of the current Uruguayan national squad play their club football in their own country.

Rodrigo Alonso, a member of the board of directors at four-times Uruguayan Premier League winners Montevideo Wanderers, talked to Ben Kelly about Suarez, the difficulties of domestic football in Uruguay and the rise of the national team.

When did you join Montevideo Wanderers?

I’ve been a member of Wanderers since the day I was born, but it was only until late June of this year that we had elections in Wanderers and I was elected by the rest of the members to be part of the board of directors, with Raul Aguerrebere as the president.

What does your day to day job at the club involve?

Right now I’m working with the marketing team from the club on developing a new image for Wanderers. Being a club that is 109 years old is something that we are very proud of but we are trying to bring Wanderers into the 21st century. New website, multimedia campaigns, developing relationships with clubs from all over the world and expose our team to the rest of the world. I’m also trying to use my player agent connections to help the team develop. I have dealt with many players but mainly abroad, especially in the United States where I lived and worked for a while.

Why do you think so many of the Uruguayan national team play their football outside of the country?

It’s simple. Our teams are only capable of producing young talented players, but when they start developing into decent players they catch the attention of European clubs that can pay more for their services. That is something that happens a lot in South America; most national teams have players that are playing outside their homeland.

Luis Suarez has made a great impact at Liverpool since he joined from Ajax and Sebastian Coates also joined Liverpool in the summer. Do you believe they have the qualities to become all-time greats?

Luis has been great at every club he has played for. He is only 24 and I believe he is one of the most lethal forwards in the game. His determination and desire, along with his ability to control the ball, are key for his style and I’m pretty sure he will continue to impress at Liverpool. I had the chance to take Nicolas Albarracin, a Wanderers player, on trial to Liverpool last August and we had the chance to be with Luis and see the impact he is having on the team and the fans. However, he is still the same humble and low profile kid that started playing for Nacional back in 2005. Sebastian was named the best young player in the last Copa America. His size and defending skills are already very good and despite being only 20 he has shown to be a true leader. Give him one or two seasons and the central defender spot will be his.

Do you believe the Uruguayan Premier League has the quality to contend with the biggest leagues across the world?

Unfortunately that is not possible. Our league is made of very young players or players that come to Uruguay to retire after playing in Europe. It’s the case of players like Alvaro Recoba, formerly of Inter Milan, or Marcelo Zalayeta, the former Juventus player.

Does the Uruguayan Premier League suffer from the strength of Argentina and Brazil?

I think it’s a lot better now than what it used to be. Ten years ago, smaller clubs from Uruguay would sell players to the two main teams in Uruguay, Peñarol and Nacional, then they would sell them to Argentina or Brazil and finally those teams would sell them to Europe. Fortunately, the globalisation and Uruguay’s performance at the World Cup has given us the chance to talk to clubs from the rest of the world directly.

The Uruguayan national team is now ranked fourth in the world. What are the reasons behind the improvement?

We have a squad that works, thinks and acts as a team and the coach is taking advantage of that. Besides that I think players like Forlan, Suarez and Cavani are among the top 10 strikers in the world.

What can Montevideo Wanderers achieve this season?

We started making an impact with good signings and some good results, but the team is young and they are not consistent during the 90 minutes. That has caused us to drop to the middle of the table, but we have hopes to revert the situation. We have one of the best youth systems in the country and we are working hard on developing them to become good players.

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