The journey to the land of success was more of a fairytale beginning, and in the end, the journey was encapsulated with a lot of success stories and unimaginable accomplishments, all of these depict the story of a young Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.
Luis Suarez was born in Salto, Uruguay, a town with a population of 104,028 as of then. He was one of seven kids born to Rodolfo, a porter, and his mom Sandra, a housewife.
Roosted on the banks of the River Uruguay on the outskirt with Argentina, Salto is a town of cobbled roads and parks. Local people frequently sip — a homegrown beverage like tea — in little groups in the streets.
A family that had limited monetary assets that needed to move to the country’s capital when he was six on the grounds that there was no work for his parents in Salto.
Rodolfo Suarez was employed in the El Trigal biscuit production line in the country’s capital (Montevideo). So it was that when his mother found a cleaning job of work in Tres Cruces. The entire family would have to move. Suarez was hesitant to move at first but later get on with the move.
Divorce and money were a long way from the main issues for the Suarezes in Montevideo. The kids found it hard to mix in with the locals, who derided their accent. He spent a year in Montevideo and when school was out he returns to spend the late spring in Salto on the grounds that he missed it to such an extent
“The change of city, the way of talking – because they talk differently there and of course they make fun of you,”.
Luis, regardless of his extraordinary talent, lost the inspiration to play. However, the move to the country’s capital ultimately ends up being a gift for his career; only in the capital could he receive the proper development as a footballer.
‘At the point when we came to live in Montevideo, we began to search for a football team for him,’ says his mom. ‘I was told about Urreta, a club where there were a lot of people with money so I took him there.
He was a sub in a friendly match a couple of days later. They were losing 2-0 so they put Luis on, he scored three to make it 3-2.’
And afterward, he met Sofía, the greatest impact on his life. She transformed him, Sofía was 13 and Luis was 15 when they met. “It was a major change in each sense,” he says.
“I was extremely lazy about everything and she helped me to understand that it wasn’t on the grounds that I was a dullard that things weren’t working out in a good way but since I wasn’t interested.” ‘It helped me understand how significant football was for me.’
Suarez Continued playing for Urreta Fc and long after, his talent caught the eyes of a scout, Wilson Pirez who offered him the chance of building a professional career in football at the Nacional youth team.
Luis Suarez Journey
Suarez kicked start his career as a young player at Nacional in 2003, during his stint with the Uruguayan side he scored 10 goals in 27 games before he got his dream move to Europe.
Signing for Groningen in Holland, where he caught the attention of then Groningen manager Rob Jans who now managed in the USA with FC Cincinnati.
According to Rob Jan: “We were scouting another player in Uruguay, Luis caught our attention, we were crazy about him and sorted a deal as soon as we could, it was the most expensive signing we’ve ever made, it was a gamble but it was really a good one“
As Rob Jan noted, the gamble Groningen took back then to sign the young Suarez really paid off with an €800,000 transfer fee. A deal that took him closer to his girlfriend Sofia who relocated to Barcelona before Suarez found his way out of Nacional to joined Groningen in the Netherlands.
The former Nacional forward joined Groningen at 19, having joined the Dutch side. He struggled because he could not speak Dutch or English, due to that he was asked to play on the second team in other to help him adjust to the Dutch game.
Thankfully for Suarez, his fellow Uruguayan Bruno Silva helped him settled well into the team and the lifestyles of the Dutch.
For what Luis Suarez is known for, the Uruguayan is no stranger to controversies, with the biting of an opponent, diving, and a match-saving handball at the World Cup quarter-final, where he denied the Black Stars of Ghana in qualifying to the next round, all of these were also part of his making at Groningen, when he had disciplinary problems by receiving three yellow cards and one red card.
Although Suarez stint with the ‘Green-White Army’ was a short one, he did make his mark with the Dutch side with 29 league appearances and 10 goals to his name to helped Groningen finished eighth on the Eredivisie league table in the 2006-07 season.
He left for Ajax Amsterdam the following season, amidst a tense situation from Groningen who didn’t want him to leave before he eventually joined the Dutch giant on a five years contract worth €7.5 million.
Suarez’s debut for Ajax came on a Champions League night against Slavia Prague. While his league debut produced two goals at the Amsterdam Arena, as Ajax finished second on the league table in the Eredivisie having scored 17 goals in 33 league appearances, with a fruitful striking partnership with the Eredivisie top scorer Klass Jan Huntelaar.
As the former Nacional forward stint continued with Ajax, his controversial and unpalatable attitude raised its ugly heads again when he bit his opponent Otman Bakkal against PSV Eindhoven, which made the Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf brand him the “Cannibal of Ajax“.
And during those periods despite his ugly and unfriendly attitude, he was an important player for the Dutch side. The manager of the team Van Basten also buttressed the fact that he was an important player despite been a player that is always surrounded by controversies.
In the 2009-10 season, a lot changed in the team, Van Basten left the team, Martin Jol was brought in to replaced him, likewise the captain of the team Thomas Vermaelen left for Arsenal.
For the team leadership to keep going smoothly, Suarez was made the new captain of the team and in that season he scored tons of goals including the four goals he scored against Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League playoff round and ended the season as the Eredivisie’s top scorer with 35 goals in 33 matches, 49 in all competitions.
His impressive campaign won him Ajax player of the year and Dutch footballer of the year, but unfortunately that season Ajax finished second in the league behind FC Twente.
As time goes on, Suarez continued to show the world of football and prospective clubs who would love to have him in their team that he’s one player that can deliver the goals aplenty. Having walked his way into Europe from Nacional to Groningen, the team that harnesses his potential and helped him to understand better Dutch football and European football as a whole.
After he returned from the World Cup, he scored his 100th goals for Ajax in a 1-1 home draw against PAOK in a UEFA Champions League qualifier, a feat that put him in the ranks of the elite group of players in the football world.
Though Suarez’s stint with Ajax was clouded with a lot of controversies and ban for improper conduct. However, he did make his mark and painted the Eredivisie with goals for the Dutch giant, won the league and the KNVB cup, and his entire stint with Ajax produced over 111 goals in 159 appearances for Ajax Amsterdam.
Having announced himself to the football world during his stint with Ajax, his quality attracted Liverpool, and in 2011 the Uruguayan forward signed a five and half year deal with the Anfield side until 2016, which made him the most expensive signing for the club with £22.8 million until the arrival of Andy Carroll who was signed for £35 million.
Luis Suarez made his debut for Liverpool against Stoke City in a 2-0 win, where he came on as a substitute to score the second goal for Liverpool. Despite having a poor season with just four goals in 13 matches for Liverpool, he was still rated as one of the team best players in that season as they finished sixth in the league.
The following season was a more fruitful one for Luis Suarez as he won the Copa America and the best player of the tournament, despite that the Uruguayan forward still wasn’t satisfied with his performances for that season and he termed the season as disappointing by his standards, as Liverpool finished eighth on the table with just 11 goals for Suarez.
For what the Uruguayan is known for, during his time with Liverpool his ugly side raised its head again when he was involved in a racial abuse incident with Patrice Evra. He was found guilty by a three-man panel from the Football Association, for racially abusing the Frenchman against Manchester United, as such he was issued an eight-match suspension with £40,000 fine.
Many may sees Luis Suarez as a player that comes with a lot of controversial bags and luggage, as usual, right? He was involved in another bitting case that involved himself and Ivanovic during his stay with the Kops, but he was regarded as one of the best to have played in the Premier League and for Liverpool.
Albeit his stay in Anfield may not come with a lot of titles but he did make his mark and won personal accolades for himself, he finished 6th in the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2011 and 5th in 2015.
Luis Suarez was also named in the PFA Team of the year for the 2012-13 Premier League, 2013-14, and Liverpool player of the season for that period, he was also named Premier League player of the month in 2013.
March 2014 also ushered in another personal award for the Uruguayan forward, he was named Liverpool player’s player of the season among others.
Having done impressively well for Liverpool during his stay, he was snapped up by the Spanish giants FC Barcelona for an undisclosed fee in a cloud of controversy.
According to a leaked report it’s was reported to be around £64.98 million which made him one of the most expensive players in football history.
Despite the ban case that involved him with the biting of Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup. With the ban, Suarez was unable to make his debut for his new club until October 25th.
Luis Suarez made his competitive debut for Barcelona against Real Madrid in El Clasico having settled his ban case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He set up the Catalan side opening goal in the fourth minute, Barcelona eventually lost the Clasico 3-1 to Real Madrid.
In his next match for Barcelona in the Champions League group stage against Apoel, he scored his first goal for the Catalan side.
As Suarez gradually settled into the Barcelona team, he brought his quality to the fore in the Copa Del Rey semi-final win against Villarreal to push the club for its 37th Spanish cup final.
He continues to hit the ground running with some of his stunning goals, he was praised by the then manager of the team Luis Enrique saying:
“Very few players can score goals as he does, and that is why we signed him, he can decide games, he’s a pure scorer who needs very little to finish”.
He was also instrumental in Barcelona’s Champions League triumph against Juventus in the final when he put the team back to lead, in an eventual 3-1 win, he converted a rebound from Buffon’s parried shot from Messi.
Luis Suarez and the entire Barcelona team went on to seal a treble that season, scoring 25 goals and 20 assists in all competitions with a fruitful partnership with the duo of Messi and Neymar, which produced a whopping 122 goals the most in a season for an attacking trio ‘MSN’ in Spanish football history.
Suarez’s career as a professional footballer has always come with a lot of controversies, we can not shy away from his pure and intelligent quality, which he has shown to the world over years, and has won him a lot for the country and most especially his club side.
And since he joined Barcelona, he has been able to achieve success with the Catalan, winning 4 league titles, 4 Copa Del Rey’s, 2 Supercopa de Espana, 1 Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Love him or loathe him, there is no denying the fact that Luis Suarez is one of the best strikers in the world of football, having proved himself both at the national and club level in Europe even though his career is gradually whining down at 33.
Thankfully, with the resumption of the La Liga on the horizon, the Uruguayan forward might also wrap up the season with a league title, if Barcelona eventually gets to win the league at the expense of arch-rival Real Madrid, as his stint with the Catalan side is gradually whining down.
Without a doubt, the young boy from Salto has indeed grown into a great man with great success to point at in his career as a footballer.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.