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Physio who treated Suarez after knee surgery is a recent cancer survivor

Jun 20, 2014, 10:24 PM EDT

Suarez AP

“There are people who know how crucial it was for me to have their support. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have been here today,” said Luis Suarez after Uruguay’s 2-1 win over England.

Suarez scored a brace, pushing his country towards the knockout round, and simultaneously ending England’s run in 2014.

The star Uruguayan striker had knee surgery just three weeks ago to repair a meniscus, and missed his country’s opening match against Costa Rica, in which his team slumped to defeat.

But he was back to rescue his country in the next one, all thanks to his physio.  The “him” in Suarez’s quote above is Uruguay’s 62-year-old physio Walter Ferreira.

Known as the “miracle man” in Uruguay according to the report in the Associated Press, he returned Suarez to match fitness in lightning quick time, as the keyhole procedure Suarez underwent to repair his meniscus normally takes 4-6 weeks of recovery.

But Suarez knows the hardships his “miracle man” is facing. Ferreira finished chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma just days before the start of the World Cup, and to the striker, it means the world to him that Ferreira continues to perform his miracles.

“I cried a lot with him, because it was such a hard time, and complicated because of what he was living through as well, he made a sacrifice to remain with me the whole time,” Suarez said.

According to Ferreira’s wife, he still remains with a low white blood cell count, but was given the O.K. by doctors to travel to Brazil since all other tests came back clean.

There will be more to come from Suarez, he promises, and it’s thanks to Ferreira’s work. “For those who doubted that I would be 50% fit, I had to show them in this match, and there was the answer, this gives me the courage to go forward,” said the talisman.

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