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There was no football in Uruguay during last weekend. The country’s football federation (AUF) had suspended all matches after the tragic death of Diego Rodríguez, defender of Nacional.


The 22-year old Rodríguez passed away on Saturday after suffering several severe injuries on Thursday when his car collided with a truck in Montevideo. ‘The sport in our country has lost a divine little boy. A healthy, humble, joyful kid’, reacted Ricardo Alarcón, president of Nacional.


Diego ‘Oreja’ Rodríguez made his debut in February 2009. He came through the youth ranks of Nacional, one of the biggest clubs in Uruguay. The young left back started all three matches during the current Apertura season.


President Alarcón continued: ‘This is very hard. There are no words for something like this. When you lose your parents, you are an orphan. When you lose your partner, you are a widower. But there is no word for parents who lose their child. Do you know why? Because it should not happen. This is injustice.’


The loss of Diego Rodríguez was also remembered outside of Uruguay, for example in Europe. Countrymen like Diego Forlán and Luis Suarez dedicated their goals to Rodríguez. Forlán pointed to the sky after scoring in the 2-1 win of Atlético Madrid against Athletic de Bilbao. Before the match the Best Player of the World Cup had put a message on his Twitter page: ‘My deepest sympathy goes out to the family, the relatives and the team mates of Diego Rodríguez, and the fans of Nacional. A warm embrace.’


Luis Suarez made two goals during Ajax’ 2-0 victory over Willem II. After each goal the World Cup striker grabbed both his ears before pointing to the sky. It was his tribute to Diego Rodríguez, who was nicknamed Oreja, because of his ears.