Seattle Sounders attacking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro credits Barcelona forward Luis Suarez with getting him to the Major League Soccer club.
When the two were playing together for Uruguay at the Copa America Centenario last summer, Lodeiro would be in the Uruguay dressing room in telephone conversations with Sounders GM Garth Lagerway, but Lodeiro told MLS Soccer that he would sometimes struggle to understand Lagerway's English.
Suarez, exasperated by watching Lodeiro's language struggle, hopped on the call to translate for his teammate, who was being offered the chance to move from Argentina side Boca Juniors to the MLS side.
"It was just funny. Nico and I, we talked fairly regularly during the process, in part because it took four months for the thing to play out," Lagerway told MLS Soccer. "And he was in the U.S. for the Copa America with Uruguay, obviously, and in hindsight that ended up being a big deciding factor for him, because he brought his wife and his little son and they got to see America and I think liked it and developed a comfort level with it.
"And I think that's what ultimately pushed them to make the leap, but I was talking and Nico's English is actually pretty, pretty good, but he isn't always so comfortable on the phone," Lagerway said.
"You don't have body language, it's harder than it is straight to the face and so he just got frustrated that he couldn't understand everything that I'm saying.
"And so he says, 'Hold on, speak to my friend,' and I said, 'OK,' and I have no idea what's happening. And Luis Suarez gets on and says, 'Hi, this is Luis Suarez, how are you?' And I'm like, 'Morning, Mr. Suarez, how are you?' And he was our translator."
The Sounders face Toronto on Dec. 10 in the MLS Cup. Lodeiro was named MLS Newcomer of the Year this season.
The 27-year-old Lodeiro has 50 caps for the Uruguay national team, including this summer's Copa America Centenario in the United States. He was instrumental in helping Boca to the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores before signing with the Seattle Sounders as a designated player.