Proven goalscorers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez have been left out of Uruguay’s 25-man squad ahead of their opening two rounds of South America’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers – in what is a surprise twist.
Alongside them, notable omissions include goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, defender Jose Gimenez, and an unfortunate string of injured key players, namely Ronald Araujo, Rodrigo Bentancur, Giorgian de Arrascaeta, and Matias Vecino.
The two-time World Cup champions, Uruguay, are gearing up to face formidable opponents, Chile and Ecuador, in Montevideo and Quito, respectively, on September 8 and four days later.
Newly appointed head coach Marcelo Bielsa has marked his return to the international stage by recalling Cagliari midfielder Nahitan Nandez for these crucial matches, marking Nandez’s comeback after nearly two years away from the national squad.
However, the most conspicuous absence in the squad is the dynamic duo of Suarez and Cavani.
These iconic strikers have etched their names in Uruguayan football history, ranking first and second on the country’s all-time leading scorers list with an astounding 126 goals collectively.
Yet, despite their illustrious careers, both players, now aged 36, have struggled to replicate their past glories at their respective club teams this season.
Cavani has managed just one goal in five appearances for Argentine giants Boca Juniors, while Suarez has displayed a relatively better performance with 15 goals in 37 games for Brazil’s Gremio.
During a press conference held last Saturday, Bielsa addressed the surprise omissions, clarifying that despite their age and recent form, neither Suarez nor Cavani have been permanently excluded from his future plans.
The consequences of their temporary absence leave 30-year-old goalkeeper Sergio Rochet as the most senior player in the current Uruguay squad, ushering in a new era for La Celeste as they embark on the challenging journey to secure a spot in the 2026 World Cup.