When Liverpool signed Luis Suarez in January 2011, they attracted one of the most sought after strikers in world soccer.
After joining Ajax in the summer of 2007, he scored 111 goals in 159 appearances, a record that had caught the attention of many European heavyweights.
Able to play right across the front line, Suarez’s game resembles that of Barcelona’s David Villa, both players capable of wreaking havoc when cutting in from the left.
El Pistolero (The Gunslinger) boasts strength, pace and an excellent right foot, and his ability persuaded Liverpool to folk out US$36 million.
Suarez gained notoriety at the 2010 World Cup when he used his hand to prevent Asamoah Gyan’s shot from crossing the line late in the quarter final with Ghana. He was sent-off before his team won the penalty shoot-out.
- Name: Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz
- Nationality: Uruguayan
- Date and Place of Birth: January 24, 1987 in Salto, Uruguay
- Position: Striker
- Current Club: Liverpool (Premier League)
- Previous Clubs: National (2005-2006), Groningen (2006-2007), Ajax (2007-2011)
- International Career: 2007 to present
The Early Years:
One of eight children, Suarez joined Nacional of Montevedeo when he was 14 and he would help the club to the Uruguayan championship four years later.
El Pistolero’s potential, coupled with 12 goals in 29 appearances, prompted Dutch club Groningen to sign him as a 19-year-old, his move to Europe enabling him to be closer to his then girlfriend who had relocated to Barcelona.
Suarez managed 11 goals in 33 matches for the Eredivisie outfit and within a year he was signed by Ajax.
Goals Galore in Amsterdam:
Suarez was a massive hit at Ajax who had to negotiate hard for his signature with a club well aware of what an asset they had on their hands.
He enjoyed three and a half prolific seasons in Amsterdam, regularly finishing amongst the league’s top scorers and justifying the hefty transfer fee. In the 2009-10 season the player finished as the league’s top scorer, netting a staggering 49 goals in all competition and winning the Dutch Player of the Year award in the process.
Suarez was not without his brushes with the game’s lawmakers during his time in Holland. A tendency to pick up unnecessary yellow cards coupled with a seven match ban for biting an opponent’s shoulder hardly enhanced his reputation.
Suarez made his debut against Colombia in February 2007 and was sent-off in the 85th minute of the game.
The player truly rose to prominence at the 2010 World Cup where he turned in some devastating displays on the left of the Uruguay attack as Oscar Tabarez’s side reached the semi-finals.
A goal against Mexico helped Uruguay win their group and two more against South Korea put his side through to the quarter finals.
It was there that Suarez alienated many observers with his cynical handball on the line in the last minute of extra-time to deny Gyan a goal that would almost certainly have made Ghana Africa’s first ever representatives in a World Cup semi-final. Gyan missed the resulting penalty and Uruguay won the shoot-out.
Referencing Diego Maradona's infamous handball goal against England in 1986, Suarez said: "Mine is the real 'Hand Of God'. I made the save of the tournament".
The remark endeared him to few.
At the 2011 Copa America, Suarez was in scintillating form as he helped his country win the tournament. He finished second top scorer with four goals, including two in the semi-final against Peru and one in the final against Paraguay. He was also named Player of the Tournament.