Luis Suárez

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This article is about the Uruguayan footballer. For the Spanish footballer, see Luis Suárez Miramontes. For other people named Luis Suárez, see Luis Suárez (disambiguation).
This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Suárez and the second or maternal family name is Díaz.
Luis Suárez
U09 Luis Suárez 7540.jpg
Suárez playing for Uruguay in 2014
Personal information
Full name Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz
Date of birth (1987-01-24) 24 January 1987 (age 27)
Place of birth Salto, Uruguay
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Barcelona
Number 9
Youth career
2003–2005 Nacional
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Nacional 27 (10)
2006–2007 Groningen 29 (10)
2007–2011 Ajax 110 (81)
2011–2014 Liverpool 110 (69)
2014– Barcelona 0 (0)
National team
2006–2007 Uruguay U20 4 (2)
2012 Uruguay U23 3 (3)
2007– Uruguay 78 (40)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 May 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 June 2014

Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz (American Spanish: [ˈlwis ˈswaɾes]; born 24 January 1987) is a Uruguayan footballer who plays for FC Barcelona in Spain and the Uruguayan national team as a striker.

In July 2014, Suárez moved to Barcelona for a fee in the region of £75 million (€94 million), making him one of the most expensive players in football.[2] He is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.[3][4]

Suárez began his career as a youth player for Nacional in 2003. He signed for Groningen in the Eredivisie in 2006 and transferred to Ajax in 2007. In 2008–09 he was named Ajax Player of the Year. The following year, he was made the club captain, helping Ajax win the KNVB Cup while becoming the league's top scorer with 35 goals in 33 games. He was also named Dutch Footballer of the Year and scored 49 goals in all competitions. In the 2010–11 season, he scored his one hundredth Ajax goal, joining a group of players including Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp in doing so.

In January 2011, Suárez transferred to Liverpool for €26.5 million (£22.8 million). In February 2012, Suárez won the Football League Cup with the club. On 22 March 2014, he scored his sixth Premier League hat-trick making him the most frequent scorer of hat-tricks in Premier League history. In April 2014 he won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, becoming the first non-European to win the award,[5] and the FWA Footballer of the Year. As the Premier League's top scorer with 31 goals he won the Premier League Golden Boot, and shared the European Golden Shoe with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Suárez represented Uruguay in the 2007 U-20 World Cup. In the 2010 World Cup, he played an important role in Uruguay's fourth place finish and scored three goals, and blocked an extra time goalbound header with his hands during the quarter finals against Ghana. At the 2011 Copa América, Suárez scored four goals for Uruguay as they won a record fifteenth Copa América and was named Player of the Tournament.[6] On 23 June 2013, he became Uruguay's all-time record goalscorer with 35 goals. At the 2014 World Cup he scored his 40th goal.

Suárez has been the source of much controversy throughout his career.[7][8][9] As well as his 2010 World Cup goal-line handball, he has also bitten three opponents, the latest being Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup,[10][11][12][13] has been widely accused of and admitted to diving,[14][15] and was found guilty by the FA of racially abusing Patrice Evra,[16] a decision Suárez disputes.[17]

Club career

Nacional

Suárez joined local side Nacional's youth team at the age of 14.[18] At the age of 16, Suárez headbutted a referee following a red card.[19] One night he was caught drinking and partying, and his coach threatened Suárez would never play unless he started playing football more seriously.[18][20] In May 2005, at age 18, he made his first team début against Junior de Barranquilla in the Copa Libertadores.[18] He scored his first goal in September 2005[21] and helped Nacional win the 2005–06 Uruguayan league with 10 goals in 27 games.[22]

Suárez was found by a group of scouts from the Dutch club Groningen when they were in Uruguay to watch another player. As they watched, he won and converted a penalty and scored a "wonder goal" against Defensor. After watching only that game, the scouts approached Suárez and said they wanted to buy him; after the season, Groningen paid Nacional €800,000 for him.[18] Suárez was thrilled to go to Europe because his girlfriend, and current wife, Sofia Balbi, had moved to Barcelona; they had maintained a long-distance relationship for a year and he wanted to move closer to her.[19][21]

Groningen

Suárez on the training field of Groningen in 2006.

Suárez was 19 years old when he went to play for Groningen. Initially he struggled because he could not speak Dutch or English, and he played on the second team to adjust to the Dutch game.[23] His teammate and fellow Uruguayan, Bruno Silva, helped him settle into living in the Netherlands and playing for a new team.[23] He worked hard to learn Dutch and his teammates respected him for his efforts with the language.[23] Suárez scored goals for Groningen, but he also had disciplinary problems; in one five-game stretch in January 2007, he scored four goals but received three yellow cards and one red card.[20] Suárez ended with 10 goals in 29 league appearances[24] to help Groningen finish eighth in the 2006–07 Eredivisie.[23][24] He also scored in a 4–2 loss[25] to Partizan Belgrade in his European début.[23]

Ajax saw potential in Suárez and offered Groningen €3.5 million for him, but Groningen rejected the deal.[26] Suárez was upset and brought his case to the KNVB’s arbitration committee to try to facilitate the sale.[26] The arbitration committee ruled against him on 9 August 2007, but that same day, Ajax increased their offer to €7.5 million and Groningen accepted.[24][27]

Ajax

Suárez signed a five-year contract with Ajax[26][28] and made his club début in the Champions League qualifier against Slavia Prague.[29] He scored one goal in his Eredivisie début for the club[30] and two goals in his home début at the Amsterdam Arena.[31] Ajax finished second in league in the 2007–08 season[32] and Suárez scored 17 goals in 33 league appearances, setting up a blossoming striking partnership with league top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.[33]

Suárez (with the Ajax pennant) as Ajax skipper in 2010. Suárez was named captain of the team in the 2009–10 season.

During the 2008–09 season, Ajax coach Marco van Basten noted how Suárez played an important role in many of Ajax’s goals, but Van Basten was also upset by the number of yellow cards Suárez received.[30] Suárez was suspended for a game[34] because he was given his seventh yellow card of the season against Utrecht in a 2–0 win.[35] He was also suspended after a halftime altercation with teammate Albert Luque over a free kick.[20][30] Ajax ended the season in third place.[36] Suárez scored 22 goals in 31 league games[30][33] and finished second in scoring tables, one goal behind Mounir El Hamdaoui of AZ;[37] Suárez was named Ajax Player of the Year.[38]

Before the 2009–10 season, Martin Jol replaced Van Basten as coach.[30] After the departure of previous captain, Thomas Vermaelen, to Arsenal, Jol named Suárez team captain.[39][40] Suárez started scoring goals early in the season with a hat trick in a 4–1 win against RKC Waalwijk.[41] Suárez had a number of multiple-goal games throughout the season including four goals in wins over Slovan Bratislava in the Europe League play-off round,[42] VVV-Venlo[43][44] and Roda JC Kerkrade.[45] He scored three in the first half in another win over VVV-Venlo[46] and six against WHC Wezep in the KNVB Cup as Ajax won by a club-record margin of 14–1.[47] Suárez scored two more in the second leg of the KNVB Cup final and finished as the tournament's top scorer.[48] Ajax won the Cup final 6–1 on aggregate over Feyenoord,[38][48][49] but they finished second in the league behind FC Twente.[39] Suárez ended the season as the Eredivisie's top scorer with 35 goals in 33 games[33][39] and had 49 goals in all competitions.[39] He was named Ajax Player of the Year for the second straight time[38] and Dutch Footballer of the Year.[38][39][50]

Soon after Suárez returned from his World Cup campaign, he scored his one hundredth goal for Ajax in a 1–1 home draw against PAOK in a Champions League qualifier.[38][51] This put him in an elite group of players, including Johan Cruyff, Van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp, to score 100 or more goals with the club.[49][51] Suárez continued his scoring run with a hat trick against De Graafschap in a 5–0 win.[52]

Suárez playing for Ajax in a UEFA Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev in 2010

On 20 November 2010, Suárez bit PSV's Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a 0–0 draw. Ajax suspended him for two games and fined him an undisclosed amount which the club said they would donate to a "good cause".[53] The Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf branded Suárez the "Cannibal of Ajax".[10][49] The KNVB increased Suárez's suspension to seven league matches.[54] Suárez apologised for his actions through a video he uploaded to his Facebook page.[49]

During the suspension Ajax was in contact with other European clubs interested in Suárez; on 28 January 2011 they accepted a €26.5 million (£22.8 million) offer for Suárez from Premier League club Liverpool.[55][56] Despite leaving while suspended, Suárez departed Ajax on good terms, and he was given a farewell sendoff after an Ajax game. During the sendoff an Ajax coach spoke to him and the crowd and said how the club wished he could stay longer; the crowd applauded their agreement and fireworks followed.[57] Ajax ended the 2010–11 season as Eredivisie champions[58] and Suárez was given a winner’s medal[22][59] for his seven goals in 13 appearances.[60] While he was at Ajax, Suárez scored 111 goals in 159 appearances.[29][55]

Liverpool

2010–11 season

Suárez (left) was signed by Liverpool on the same day as Andy Carroll

Suárez signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Liverpool until 2016,[55][61] and was the club's most expensive signing (£22.8 million) until the arrival of Andy Carroll (£35 million) a few hours later.[62] Suárez requested the number seven jersey, but at the time did not realise that it had been worn by Liverpool legends such as his new manager Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan.[63] Suárez made his Liverpool début on 2 February against Stoke City at Anfield in a 2–0 win; he came on as a substitute and scored Liverpool's second goal in front of the Kop in the sixty-third minute.[62][64] He was one of Liverpool's best players during his partial season[65][66][67] and helped Liverpool go from twelfth in the league in mid-January[65] to finish sixth.[67] He finished the 2010–11 season with four goals in 13 games.[60]

2011–12 season

After winning the Player of the Tournament at the 2011 Copa América,[6] Suárez had a disappointing 2011–12 season by his standards.[68] Liverpool finished in eighth place and Suárez scored 11 league goals.[68] Suárez scored his first Liverpool hat trick against Norwich City at Carrow Road,[69] and won his first Liverpool trophy with the League Cup,[70] and he finished sixth for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or.[71]

Racial abuse incident
Suárez playing for Liverpool in December 2011

The season was marked by an incident in which Suárez was found guilty by a three man panel from the FA of racially abusing Patrice Evra during a game against Manchester United in October; he was given an eight-game suspension and a £40,000 fine.[16] Suarez has disputed this decision.[17]

After a 1–1 draw against Manchester United on 15 October 2011, Suárez was accused of racially abusing Evra,[72] and the Football Association opened up an investigation into the incident.[72] Suárez wrote on his Twitter and Facebook pages that he was upset by the accusation and denied the claims.[73] On 16 November, the FA announced it would charge Suárez with "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour contrary to FA rules", including "a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra." Liverpool later released a statement announcing Suárez would plead innocent, adding that they would "remain fully supportive" of him.[74] On 20 December, the FA concluded a seven-day hearing, handing Suárez an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine for racially abusing Evra.[75][76][77]

In their next meeting in February, during the pregame handshakes, Suárez avoided shaking Evra's hand, for which Suárez and Dalglish were later forced to apologise.[78] Suárez was also banned for one match for making an obscene gesture towards Fulham fans.[79]

2012–13 season

On 7 August 2012, Suárez signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool.[80] On 26 August, he scored his first goal of the 2012–13 season in a 2–2 draw with champions Manchester City at Anfield.[81] On 29 September 2012, Suárez scored a hat-trick in Liverpool's Premier League fixture away at Norwich City for the second consecutive season.[82]

On 6 January 2013, Suárez handled the ball before scoring the decisive goal in Liverpool's 2–1 win over Mansfield Town from the Conference National in an FA Cup third round match. Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers defended his player by claiming that "it's not his job to own up", while Mansfield manager Paul Cox said that he felt "a little bit gutted" by the "instinctive" handball, but admitted that he would have accepted a goal scored like that by one of his players.[83]

Suárez takes a free kick for Liverpool against Zenit St Petersburg in 2013

On 19 January, he scored his seventh goal in three matches against Norwich, as Liverpool cruised to a 5–0 home league victory.[84] The following week, Suárez captained Liverpool for the first time for the FA Cup fourth round match against Oldham Athletic; Liverpool lost to Oldham 2–3.[85] On 2 March, Suárez scored a hat-trick against Wigan, leading Liverpool to a dominant 4–0 victory at the DW Stadium. In doing so he became only the third Liverpool player to score 20 Premier League goals in a single season after Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres.[86] On 10 March, Suárez scored his 50th goal in all competitions since joining the Reds by grabbing the opener in a 3–2 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur ending Spurs' 12-match unbeaten run. He was also named man of the match for his performance after he won the decisive penalty which Steven Gerrard converted.

Suárez playing against Arsenal in January 2013

At the end of the season, Suárez was one of six players named on the shortlist for PFA Players' Player of the Year.[87] Suárez finished second in the final ballot behind Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur[88] and was named in the PFA Team of the Year.[88] He was second-top goalscorer in the Premier League for 2012–13 with 23 goals and Liverpool's top scorer in all competitions with 30 goals.[89] On 28 May 2013, he was named as Liverpool's player of the season after receiving 64 percent of votes in a poll of the club's supporters.[90]

On 21 April 2013, during a 2–2 draw with Chelsea in a Premier League game at Anfield, Suárez bit Branislav Ivanović; this was the second time Suárez had bitten an opponent. It was not noticed by the officials, and Suárez scored an equaliser in injury time.[11] He was charged with violent conduct by the FA and fined an undisclosed sum by his club. Contrary to claims from Suárez, Ivanović did not accept an apology.[91] Suárez accepted the violent conduct charge but denied the FA's claim that the standard punishment of three matches was clearly insufficient for his offence.[92] A three-man independent panel appointed by the FA decided on a ten-game ban for Suárez, who did not appeal the ban; the panel criticised Suárez for not appreciating "the seriousness" of the incident when he argued against a long ban. The panel also wanted to send a "strong message that such deplorable behaviours do not have a place in football", while noting that "all players in the higher level of the game are seen as role models, have the duty to act professionally and responsibly, and set the highest example of good conduct to the rest of the game – especially to young players."[93]

On 31 May 2013, Suárez said that he would be seeking an exit from Liverpool in the summer, citing excessive media attention on his family as a reason for wanting to leave Liverpool.[94] On 6 August, after Liverpool had rejected a bid of £40,000,001 for the player from Arsenal, Suárez reiterated his wish to leave Liverpool and claimed that the club had previously promised to allow him a transfer if the team failed to qualify for the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League.[95] The following day, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers stated that Liverpool had not broken any promises to Suárez and that the player had shown "total disrespect" for the club.[96] After this incident, the British press reported that Suárez had been instructed to train away from the Liverpool first-team squad by Rodgers.[96][97][98] On 8 August, Liverpool owner John Henry stated that Suárez would not be allowed to leave the club.[99]

2013–14 season, Player of the Year

On 14 August, Suárez appeared to reverse his position about wanting to leave the club, with reports stating that he wanted to stay at the club and that he was possibly going to sign a contract extension, citing the support from Liverpool supporters as the reason for his unexpected turnaround.[100][101][102] Suárez returned to first-team training two days later after "offer[ing] contrition" to his teammates but reportedly not apologising to his manager.[103]

On 25 September, Suárez returned to the Liverpool team after his suspension to make his first appearance of the 2013–14 season in a League Cup third round tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford, losing 1–0.[104][105] On 29 September, Suárez made his first Premier League appearance of the season, scoring twice as Liverpool beat Sunderland 3–1 at the Stadium of Light.[106] On 5 October, Suárez made his first appearance of the season at Anfield, where he scored Liverpool's opening goal in a 3–1 win against Crystal Palace.[107] On 26 October, he scored his fourth Premier League hat-trick, his first at Anfield, in a 4–1 defeat of West Bromwich Albion. According to the BBC, he has scored a hat-trick every 20.3 Premier League games, "the best rate of all 46 players to have scored more than one treble" in the top tier.[108]

He [Suárez] has shown in his time at Liverpool in the last year or so that he is near unplayable. He on his own can occupy a back four with his movement and his cleverness.

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager.[109]

On 4 December, Suárez scored four goals against Norwich City in a 5–1 home win.[110] He became the first player in Premier League history to score three hat-tricks against the same club, and took his scoring record against Norwich to 11 goals in five matches.[111] On 15 December, Suárez captained Liverpool for the first time in a Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur.[112] He scored twice and assisted once as the team recorded a 5–0 win at White Hart Lane to close the gap on league leaders Arsenal to two points.[113] The following day, Suárez was named the Football Supporters' Federation Player of the Year for 2013.[114] On 20 December, Suárez signed a new contract with Liverpool, which will keep him at the club until 2018.[115][116][117]

On 1 January 2014, by scoring in a 2–0 home win over Hull City, Suárez became the first Liverpool player to score 20 or more goals in successive Premier League seasons since Robbie Fowler in 1994–95 and 1995–96.[118] He equalled Andy Cole's Premier League record for the earliest date to reach the 20-goal mark, but set a new record low of 15 matches.[119] His strike partnership this season with Daniel Sturridge has earned them a nickname "SAS", i.e. Sturridge and Suárez.[120]

On 1 March, Suárez made his 100th Premier League appearance, scoring in a 3–0 win over Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.[121] In the following fixture, he scored his 25th league goal of the season as Liverpool beat Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time since 2009 by a convincing three goal margin.[122] On 22 March, Suárez scored his sixth Premier League hat-trick, and third of the season, in a 6–3 win over Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium.[123] On 30 March, he broke Robbie Fowler's club record of 28 goals in a Premier League season in a 4–0 home win against Tottenham Hotspur which took Liverpool top of the league with six matches remaining.[124] On 20 April, he scored in a 3–2 win at Norwich City to become the first Liverpool player to score 30 league goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1986–87.[125] This also made him the seventh player to score 30 goals in a Premier League season, following Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Kevin Phillips, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie.[126]

On 18 April, Suárez was named as one of the six players nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season.[127] On 27 April he won the award, becoming the first non-European to win the award.[5] On 5 May 2014, Suarez was named as the Football Association Writers player of the year.[128] He finished the season with 31 goals in 33 games, winning the Premier League Golden Boot, with Sturridge as runner-up,[129] as Liverpool came second in the league and returned to the Champions League. Suárez also won the Barclay's Premier League Player of the Season award.[130] As the Premier League's top scorer with 31 goals he also shared the European Golden Shoe with Cristiano Ronaldo. On 21 May 2014, Suárez ranked number one on "Europe's most influential player" list of the year, ahead of Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to a study by Bloomberg of the top five European leagues.[131]

Barcelona

On 11 July 2014, FC Barcelona announced that the club and Suárez had agreed on a five-year contract for a fee in the region of £75 million (94 million), making him one of the most expensive players in world football history.[2][132][133] The club confirmed that Suárez will wear the number 9 shirt for the 2014–15 season.[134][135]

Suárez will miss the first part of the season after being found guilty of biting Italian player Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[136][137] As part of the suspension, he is banned from all "football-related activities," including training for Barcelona, for four months (until 26 October). He is also banned from setting foot in any stadium, even as a spectator, during the same period.[136][137]

International career

Suárez was invited to play for Uruguay in the qualifying rounds for the 2007 U-20 World Cup, but his club, Groningen, did not release him to play.[138] He did play in the tournament proper, and he scored two goals in four appearances.[139] His goals came in a group stage draw against Spain[140] and in the Round of 16 against the United States,[139] but the US won 2–1 and Uruguay was knocked out of the tournament.[141]

Suárez made his senior début for Uruguay on 8 February 2007 in a 3–1 win against Colombia. He was sent off in the eighty-fifth minute after receiving a second yellow card for dissent.[23][138] Suárez played in 19 of 20 games in 2010 World Cup qualifying and the inter-confederation playoffs and scored five goals.[139]

2010 FIFA World Cup

Suárez (left) and Diego Forlán at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

In June 2010, Óscar Tabárez named Suárez to Uruguay's 23-man World Cup squad.[142] Uruguay began the tournament with a 0–0 draw against France.[143] In the second game, a 3–0 win over South Africa, Suárez drew a penalty and assisted Alvaro Pereira's stoppage time goal.[144] In the final game of the group, he headed in a goal off a pass from Edinson Cavani and was named Man of the Match in a 1–0 win over Mexico.[145][146] Uruguay won Group A and advanced to the knockout stage.[145][146]

During the round of 16 against South Korea, Suárez scored both goals in a 2–1 win. His second broke a tie in the 80th minute when he dribbled around a defender and curled a "spectacular shot"[147] in off the far post; Suárez was again named Man of the Match.[147] This win put Uruguay through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1970.[148] In the quarter-final against Ghana, the score was 1–1 at the end of regulation and the game went into extra time. Late in extra time, Ghana sent a free kick into the box; Suárez blocked Stephen Appiah's shot on the goal line.[149] He then blocked Dominic Adiyiah's goalbound header with his hands, committing a professional foul[49] to save what would have been the game winner[150] and was sent off. Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar with the ensuing penalty kick[149] and Suárez, who had stopped to watch, celebrated the miss before heading down the tunnel.[151][152] Uruguay won the shootout 4–2 and advanced to the semi-finals.[149]

After the game, Suárez said, "I made the save of the tournament."[150] He claimed he had no alternative, was acting out of instinct, and would do it again if it helped his team win.[153] Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac said the play was an "injustice"[151] and Suárez was labelled a villain[153] and a cheat.[154] Others viewed him as a hero.[49][155] Due to the automatic suspension that accompanies a red card, Suárez sacrificed himself in the semi-final for the unlikely chance that the penalty would be missed, and his team would later win.[20][154]

While Suárez was suspended for the semi-final game for his red card against Ghana,[156] Uruguay "lacked a second striker [alongside Diego Forlán] of cunning and movement"[157] and lost 3–2 to the Netherlands.[158][159] Suárez returned for the third place game against Germany; he was booed almost every time he had the ball because of his handball in the Ghana game.[160] He assisted Cavani on Uruguay's first goal,[161] but Uruguay lost 3–2.[160] During the tournament, Suárez played 543 minutes in six appearances and scored three goals.[1]

2011 Copa América

Suárez was named most valuable player of the 2011 Copa América

In the 2011 Copa América tournament, Suárez scored in Uruguay's opening game, a 1–1 draw with Peru.[162] Uruguay finished second in their group and advanced to the knockout round[163] with a win and two draws.[164] In the quarter-finals, Uruguay finished regulation and extra time tied at 1–1 with tournament hosts Argentina. Uruguay won the shootout 5–4 and Suárez converted his penalty.[165] Suárez scored both goals in Uruguay’s 2–0 semi-final win over Peru and was named Man of the Match.[166] In the final, Suárez scored the first goal and Uruguay beat Paraguay 3–0 for their record fifteenth Copa América title.[6] Suárez scored four goals in the tournament and was named Player of the Tournament.[6][38]

2012 Summer Olympics

On 9 July 2012, Suárez was selected for the Uruguay Olympic football team alongside Liverpool team mate Sebastián Coates to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.[167] In the first pre-tournament warm-up game against Chile, Suárez scored a hat-trick for Uruguay as they came from 0–2 down to win 6–4 in a thrilling game.[168]

As one of Uruguay's three overage players, Suárez was named as captain for the Olympic Games.[169] After an opening win over United Arab Emirates, Uruguay were beaten by Senegal and Great Britain and eliminated at the first round. Suárez failed to score during the tournament.

2013 Confederations Cup

Suárez was selected in the Uruguay squad to play in Brazil at the 2013 Confederations Cup. He scored a free-kick from 25 yards in a 2–1 defeat to Spain in their opening game at Recife on 16 June 2013.[170] He then scored twice after appearing as a substitute in Uruguay's 8–0 win over Tahiti, making him the Uruguay national team's all-time top-goalscorer with 35 goals. Uruguay were eventually knocked out at the semi-final stage, losing 2–1 to Brazil in Belo Horizonte.[171]

2014 FIFA World Cup

Suárez (center) celebrating one of his two goals against England, alongside Álvaro González

Suárez ended the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign as top scorer in the South American section with 11 goals.[172] In November 2013, Uruguay beat Jordan 5–0 on aggregate in an intercontinental play-off to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.[173]

On 22 May, Suárez underwent emergency surgery on his left knee. He was confined to a wheelchair for a time, leading to rumours that he would be unable to participate in the World Cup.[174][175][176] He was named as a substitute for Uruguay's first match, a 3–1 defeat to Costa Rica, but did not take part in that game. Suárez started Uruguay's second match against England and scored both of the team's goals in a 2–1 win at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.[177]

These are just things that happen out on the pitch. It was just the two of us inside the area and he bumped into me with his shoulder and that's how my eye got like this as well. There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them.

— Suárez's post-match interview against Italy, 24 June 2014[178]

... I lost my balance ... falling on top of my opponent ... I hit my face against [Chiellini], leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth.

— Suárez's defence to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, 25 June 2014[179]

... the truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me ... I apologize to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family. I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like [this].

— Suárez on 30 June 2014[180]

For Uruguay's final group game against Italy on 24 June, Uruguay needed a win to advance to the knockout stage while Italy only needed a draw.[181] Around the 79th minute with the score at 0–0, Suárez clashed with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini while waiting for a cross. Replays showed that Suárez lunged at Chiellini and bit his shoulder (Chiellini showed bite marks), followed by Suárez falling and clutching his face. As the Italian players protested to Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodríguez for not penalising Suárez, Uruguay won a corner and scored. The game would finish 1–0 in favour of Uruguay, thus qualifying Uruguay for the knockout stage and eliminating Italy.[182][183][184]

Two days later, on 26 June, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee banned Suárez for nine international matches, effective immediately, meaning he would take no further part in the World Cup. The ban almost certainly rules him out of the 2015 Copa América as well. It was the longest such ban in World Cup history, exceeding the eight-match ban handed to Italy's Mauro Tassotti for breaking the nose of Spain's Luis Enrique at USA '94.[137][185][186] He was also banned from taking part in any football-related activity (including entering any stadium) for four months and fined CHF100,000.[136][137][185] The severity of the penalty was due to the fact that it was Suárez's third biting offence, as well as what FIFA saw as a lack of remorse.[179] Soon after the suspension was announced, online gambling firm 888poker cancelled its sponsorship deal with Suárez.[187] With Suárez banned, Uruguay lost their next match 0–2 to Colombia and were knocked out of the World Cup.[188]

On the same day the ban was announced, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) said it would appeal against the decision.[189] Suárez's lawyer claimed that "we don't have any doubts" of a European-based campaign against Suárez.[190] Various Uruguayan individuals defended Suárez, questioning if he had actually bitten Chiellini, and criticised the severity of his ban, including: President of Uruguay José Mujica, who labelled the ban "fascist" and called FIFA "a bunch of old sons of bitches";[191][192] AUF president Wilmar Valdez;[189] Uruguay captain Diego Lugano;[193] and Uruguay coach Óscar Tabárez, who resigned from two FIFA posts in protest of the ban.[194] The Uruguayan media were also noted to have been in a defiant and defensive mood.[195] For non-Uruguayan parties, Chiellini, who was bitten, called the ban "excessive", while international players' union FIFPro called for Suárez to "receive all the support he needs" and that the "focus should be on the rehabilitation and serious treatment" of Suárez.[194]

Six days after the incident, on 30 June, Suárez apologised to Chiellini through Twitter and vowed never to repeat the incident, while writing that the "physical result of a bite" occurred in a collision with Chiellini.[180][196] Chiellini responded through Twitter indicating that all was forgotten and his hope that FIFA would reduce Suárez's suspension.[196][197]

On 3 July, the AUF made the appeal against Suárez's ban,[198][199] but it was rejected by FIFA on 10 July.[200][201][202] With Suárez's ban not preventing him from transferring to another club,[203] it was announced on 11 July that Suárez had agreed to move to FC Barcelona.[2][132][133] Days before the transfer, Suárez's apology to Chiellini had been praised by various Barcelona individuals. Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the apology was "honourable", sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta welcomed Suárez as being "humble enough to admit an error" while new signing Ivan Rakitić commended Suárez's "character and strength".[204][205]

Style of play

Suárez takes on Sylvain Distin of Everton during the Merseyside Derby in 2012

Suárez creates goal scoring chances with his powerful shot,[138] aerial ability[138][206] and "remarkable technical ability".[206] Harry Redknapp said that Suárez could play anywhere – as the target man or behind as a second striker. Uruguay coach Óscar Tabárez called Suárez "a great forward, an elite player among forwards in the world",[207] and Liverpool coach Kenny Dalglish said, "he's intelligent, he's had a fantastic education at Ajax."[208] Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge said his abilities allow him to get into a position to score[209] and evade defenders.[210] Suárez has been praised for his work rate,[210] and his quickness[208] that allows him to attack from the outside.[206] He also creates scoring opportunities for his teammates.[1]

Former Ajax coach Marco van Basten criticised Suárez for his tendency to pick up yellow cards.[30] Van Basten said he had a tense relationship with Suárez,[30] although he conceded, "Luis is unpredictable, he’s hard to influence but that makes him special."[30] At times, Suárez can be dominant but fail to convert his efforts into goals.[211] Despite his weaknesses, Suárez’s leadership stood out to Ajax management.[55]

Suárez has also been widely accused of diving.[14][212][213][214] His manager, team-mates and various analysts have commented that this reputation for simulation has caused referees not to award him legitimate penalties.[215][216] In January 2013, Suárez admitted to diving against Stoke City in an October 2012 match. This led his manager Brendan Rodgers to comment that his actions were "unacceptable" and he would be dealt with "internally" by the club.[217] Suárez has also been accused of stamping on opponents in the Premier League and the Europa League.[218][219][220] In December 2013, Spanish football website El Gol Digital ranked Suárez at 5th in its list of the world's dirtiest footballers.[221]

Personal life

Suárez was born in Salto, Uruguay, the fourth of seven brothers.[20][222] His older brother, Paolo Suárez, is also a professional footballer, currently playing for Comunicaciones in Guatemala.[223]

Suárez moved with his family to Montevideo when he was seven, and his parents separated when he was nine.[222] In Montevideo, Suárez developed his football skills on the streets,[21][222] while taking up work as a street sweeper.[19] The contrast between his life in Europe and the poverty he left behind has been cited as contributing to his periodic aggression on the field, as well as being a possible explanation for the more forgiving attitudes of the Uruguayan public and press towards such cases, compared to Europe.[19]

Suárez is of mixed race, with public records indicating his having a black grandfather.[224] The matter of ethnicity was raised in reporting on the Patrice Evra incident, where use by his grandmother, Lila Piriz, of "mi negrito" as a sobriquet has been offered to explain Suárez's repeated use of "negro" over the ~2 minute altercation; the FA judged his evidence unreliable, en route to an 8 match ban.[225]

Suárez started to date Sofia Balbi at the age of 15 in Montevideo; the Balbi family moved to Barcelona in 2003, and Suárez's focus on football strengthened when he followed them to Europe to join Sofia again.[19] Suárez married her in 2009, and the couple have a daughter and a son.[20][226] On 11 July 2014, Suárez joined Barcelona, allowing him to live closer with his wife Sofia's family. Suárez was quoted saying “This club (Liverpool) did all they could to get me to stay, but playing and living in Spain, where my wife's family live, is a lifelong dream and ambition. I believe now the timing is right.[227]

Career statistics

Club

As of 11 July 2014.[228]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Nacional 2005–06 27 10 0 0 0 0 3 0 4 2 34 12
Total 27 10 0 0 0 0 3 0 4 2 34 12
Groningen 2006–07 29 10 2 1 0 0 2 1 4 3 37 15
Total 29 10 2 1 0 0 2 1 4 3 37 15
Ajax 2007–08 33 17 3 2 0 0 4 1 4 2 42 22
2008–09 31 22 2 1 0 0 10 5 0 0 43 28
2009–10 33 35 6 8 0 0 9 6 0 0 48 49
2010–11 13 7 1 1 0 0 9 4 1 0 24 12
Total 110 81 12 12 0 0 32 16 5 2 159 111
Liverpool 2010–11 13 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 4
2011–12 31 11 4 3 4 3 0 0 39 17
2012–13 33 23 2 2 1 1 8 4 0 0 44 30
2013–14 33 31 3 0 1 0 0 0 37 31
Total 110 69 9 5 6 4 8 4 0 0 133 82
Barcelona 2014–15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career total 276 170 23 18 6 4 45 21 13 7 363 220

International

As of 19 June 2014[229]
Uruguay national team
Year Apps Goals
2007 6 2
2008 10 4
2009 12 3
2010 11 7
2011 13 10
2012 8 3
2013 16 9
2014 2 2
Total 78 40

International goals

Scores and results list Uruguay's goal tally first.[139][229]

Note: In a World Cup qualifier on 10 June 2012 where Uruguay defeated Peru 4–2, FIFA's match summary lists Suárez as the scorer of the opening goal. However, FIFA has published reports where they credit the goal to Sebastián Coates.[230][231] Other notable sources also credit the goal to Coates.[232] Suárez himself also insisted that Coates scored the goal,[229] therefore it is not listed in his tally above.

Honours

Club

Suárez (right) in the 2012 Football League Cup Final against Cardiff City, his first trophy won at Liverpool

[22]

Nacional
Ajax
Liverpool

International

Uruguay

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External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Thomas Vermaelen
AFC Ajax Captain
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Maarten Stekelenburg