It was confirmed earlier today that Luis Suarez was to join Barcelona from Liverpool for £75 million, making him the third most expensive player of all time. The 2013-14 Premier League Player of the Year isn’t allowed to play for just under four months as he is currently serving a ban for biting Georgio Chiellini at the World Cup. So is he worth £75 million? In many ways yes, but you could also argue the opposite way.
When announcing Suarez’s departure, Liverpool said: “We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield.”
This basically sums up how important the Uruguayan was on Merseyside last season. His 12 assists and 31 goals last season meant he was involved in 43 goals, more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2013-14.
Many of those 31 goals were scored in spectacular fashion – Suarez is always trying to better himself and the score the most magnificent of goals and it often comes off.
Only Robin van Persie (103) has scored or assisted more Premier League goals than Suarez (92) since both made their debuts in England’s top division.
Even before he moved to Liverpool, Suarez was impressing crowds in first Uruguay and then Holland. In his only season with Nacional in his home country, he won the league and scored ten goals in 27 games.
Upon moving to Europe, he scored as many goals in 29 games for Groningen, but it was at Ajax where he really excelled in four seasons. He scored 111 times in 159 games, helping the Amsterdam side win one league title and the Dutch equivalent of the FA Cup. Suarez was awarded the Ajax Player of the Year in 2008-09 and 2009-2010 and finished as the club’s top scorer in both campaigns, whilst in the latter season he scored more goals than anyone else in the league with 35 strikes, despite playing 33 games. In all competitions that year, he scored 49 goals in 48 games.
On the international stage, Suarez is the record Uruguay goal scorer with 40 strikes, with 11 of those goals coming in World Cup Qualifying, making him top scorer in South American qualifying. At the 2011 Copa America, Suarez was awarded the player of the tournament as Uruguay won the competition.
You can’t look past Suarez’s habit of biting opponents, something which he has done three times in his career to date. First, in November 2010, in one of his last games for Ajax against PSV, tempers started to flare between players with the usual pushing and shoving from both sides.
But the Uruguayan decided to take it to the next level, suddenly deciding to bite into PSV player Otman Bakkal, an incident the referee did not see.
Suarez was subsequently given a seven match ban by the Dutch FA and was also fined by Ajax for his actions.
Then at the end of the 2012-13 Premier League season, Suarez ruled out all hope of winning the Player of the Year Award by biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. As the Serbian tackled the Liverpool striker, Suarez showed his displeasure of losing the ball, by appearing to sink his teeth into the Chelsea defender’s arm. This time the ban was worse – ten games.
And of course, his latest controversy and his third bite. In Uruguay’s final World Cup group game against Italy, Suarez sunk his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini, something at first he denied but then video evidence left him no where to hide. He has been banned for four months from any football-related activity and suspended for nine international matches.
But his violent antics started at an early age. At 15 years old, Suarez was sent off for headbutting a referee, playing for Nacional. A coach said: “The referee had a broken nose and was bleeding like a cow.”
Then you turn your attentions to Suarez’s liability to cheat. Although he does not do it as much as other players, the 27 year old is prone to occasionally diving in the box, something he has earned a repuatation for.
Handballs are also in his past. In the 2010 World Cup Quarter-Finals, Uruguay were playing Ghana and the stoppage time in the first half of extra time, a Ghana shot seemed to smash against the Uruguay bar but at second glance it was clear to see that Suarez had used his hands to block the shot.
He was sent-off and a penalty was given. As Suarez began to walk down the tunnel, Asamoah Gyan missed the spot-kick and the Uruguayan was seen celebrating on the touchline. His side went on to win the game on a penalty shoot-out.
Meanwhile, in an FA Cup third round tie in 2013, Suarez used his arm in the process of scoring goal against Mansfield. Finally, you I couldn’t write this article without mentioning the incident with Patrice Evra.
In October 2011, Suarez received an eight match ban and was fined £40,000 by the FA for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice in the clash between the two North West rivals at Anfield.
Four months later, the rivals met again. And the build-up was dominated by one question: Would he or wouldn’t he shake The Frenchman’s hand as the pair met at Old Trafford? The answer was no he would not.
The list goes on, but I could be here all day writing what else the Uruguayan has been fined or banned for.
One thins’s for sure, Barcelona are buying a technically brilliant player. But they can’t control his temper or actions. I don’t particularly like Suarez, but it will be interesting to see how he gets on in Spain. In my view, Liverpool have the better deal. They have got an unpredictable player off their books and have received a good amount of money to use to replace him.