Luis Suárez is one of the most prolific goalscorers and talented footballers of his generation. Known for his tenacious work ethic, creativity on the ball and keen eye for goal, Suárez has lit up pitches across Europe with his dazzling skills and competitive drive.
The Uruguayan striker has played for major clubs like Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona, winning a multitude of team and individual honors along the way. He has also represented his national team with distinction.
Suárez’s success story is made even more remarkable by the adversities he has overcome in his personal life and professional career.
This article will explore Suárez’s background, his rise to stardom, record-breaking achievements, style of play, biggest controversies and his family life. Suárez’s story is one of incredible highs and lows, but through it all, his passion for football has never dimmed.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz was born on January 24, 1987 in Salto, Uruguay. He was the fourth of seven boys born to Sandra Díaz and Rodolfo Suárez. His parents split up when Luis was 9 and his older brothers moved to Montevideo for work.
Luis remained in Salto with his mother, where he first seriously pursued football in the youth teams of local club Nacional.
Even as a youngster, Suárez stood out for his ball control, dribbling skills and eye for goal. He joined Nacional’s senior side at age 18 in 2005. After a season of impressively scoring 12 goals in 29 matches, he caught the eye of Dutch club Groningen who signed him for €800,000.
Move to Europe with Groningen
The 19-year old Suárez moved to Europe to join Groningen in 2006. He adapted quickly, scoring on his debut and notching 10 goals in 29 appearances in his first Eredivisie season.
The following 2006-07 season saw him further consolidate his reputation as an emerging talent, with 15 goals in 37 games.
Suárez’s technical ability and prowess in front of goal for Groningen earned him a €7.5 million transfer to fellow Dutch club Ajax in August 2007. He was about to embark on the most successful period of his career to date.
Rise to Stardom at Ajax
It was at Ajax from 2007 to 2011 that Suárez truly announced himself on the world stage. During his tenure there, he won honors including:
- Eredivisie title (2010-11)
- KNVB Cup (2009-10)
- Johan Cruyff Shield (2007, 2010)
- Dutch Footballer of the Year (2009-10)
He also became one of the club’s best ever goalscorers. Some highlights included:
- 111 goals in 159 total appearances
- Leading scorer in Eredivisie in 2009-10 with 35 goals
- Scoring record of 49 league goals in one season (2009-10)
- Named Ajax captain for 2010-11 season
Suárez formed a prolific striking partnership with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and the duo were central to Ajax’s league title win in 2010-11. But despite the trophies and accolades at Ajax, trouble was never far away for the fiery and competitive Suárez.
In November 2010, Suárez infamously bit PSV’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a match, for which he received a 7-game ban. Further on-field incidents like altercations with opponents and allegedly diving would continue to plague him.
But his talent could not be denied, and when Liverpool came calling with a £22.8 million offer in January 2011, Ajax agreed to sell their star striker. Suárez would now take his game to the vaunted Premier League.
Record-Setting Seasons with Liverpool
Suárez moved to Liverpool FC in January 2011 as a relative unknown outside the Netherlands. That would soon change as he announced himself in England with his phenomenal goalscoring exploits.
Stunning Debut Campaign
- Scored on Liverpool debut versus Stoke City
- Formed partnerships with Andy Carroll and later Daniel Sturridge
- Scored 17 league goals in 2010-11 despite playing only half the season after his transfer
- Helped Liverpool finish 6th after flirting with relegation earlier in season
Prolific 2012-13 Season
- 30 goals in 44 games across all competitions
- Second top scorer in the Premier League with 23 goals
- Named Liverpool Player of the Season
- Scored hat-trick versus Norwich City
- Forms feared partnership with Daniel Sturridge
Record-Breaking 2013-14 Season
- Wins Premier League Golden Boot with 31 goals
- Breaks Premier League record for goals in a 38-game season
- Named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year
- Leads Liverpool’s title charge resulting in 2nd place finish
Despite missing the first five games due to suspension, Suárez was simply unstoppable in 2013-14, almost singlehandedly winning games for Liverpool and changing their fortunes. The strike partnership with Sturridge was telepathic and Suárez peaked in terms of his goalscoring prowess.
Infamous Biting Incident at 2014 World Cup
Just as Suárez reached these dizzying heights for Liverpool, ignominy followed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. In a group match between Uruguay and Italy, a frustrated Suárez inexplicably bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder.
The shocking incident was punished with a 4-month ban from all football activities by FIFA. After lengthy appeals, Suárez and Liverpool were forced to accept this suspension. By the time Suárez could play again, he had sealed a £75 million transfer to Spanish giants Barcelona.
Triumphs and Troubles at Barcelona
If Suárez’s stint at Liverpool was defined by goals and controversies, his time at Barcelona would elevate his brilliance alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar, while still being punctuated by misdemeanors.
Dream Debut Season
- Joins Barcelona for £75 million in July 2014
- Forms part of star-studded strikeforce with Messi and Neymar
- Bags 25 goals in La Liga to finish 2nd top scorer behind Messi
- Wins historic treble of La Liga, Copa Del Rey and UEFA Champions League in 2014-15
- Leads Barca’s attack in absence of injured Messi
Historic 2015-16 Season
- Key member of attack as Barcelona retain La Liga and Copa Del Rey
- Forms deadly ‘MSN’ trio with Messi and Neymar, scoring 131 goals between them
- Wins Golden Shoe as Europe’s top scorer with 40 league goals
- Wins Pichichi Trophy as top scorer in Spain
The 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons were phenomenally successful for Suárez as he transitioned seamlessly into Barcelona’s possession-based attacking system. Any doubts about his ability after the World Cup ban were swiftly quashed as he rediscovered his prolific form.
Injury Troubles and Declining Form
- After multiple long-term injuries, Suárez loses some of his trademark explosiveness
- Goes through increasing goal droughts in 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons
- 2017-18 season yields just 25 goals in all competitions
- Criticized in Spanish press for perceived weight gain and lack of form
- 2018 World Cup performances deemed disappointing as Uruguay bow out in quarterfinals
As Barcelona’s superstar strikeforce aged and injuries took their toll, Suárez found goals harder to come by. Public perception began turning against him as his work rate and finishing touch seemed affected.
Infamous ‘Clásico’ Biting of 2016
In keeping with an uncanny pattern, Suárez once again sank his teeth into an opponent at a major tournament.
During a heated El Clásico clash with rivals Real Madrid in November 2016, Suárez bizarrely bit defender Sergio Ramos. He received only a small ban and fine as punishment.
For all his goals and accomplishments at Barcelona, Suárez’s time there was also marred by this latest mindless biting incident and his eventual decline in form. By 2020, as Suárez entered his 30s, Barcelona were looking to offload him to slash their wage bill. After 6 prolific seasons, they transferred Suárez to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
Indian Summer at Atletico Madrid
Even as Barcelona sensed Suárez was in decline, their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid swooped in to sign him on a free transfer in September 2020. Re-invigorated and motivated, Suárez proceeded to defy his critics with an outstanding season.
- Forms formidable partnership with João Félix
- Wins Pichichi Trophy again as top scorer in La Liga with 21 goals
- Wins La Liga title with Atletico Madrid, beating both Barcelona and Real Madrid
- Named La Liga Best Forward
Luis Suárez’s footballing journey has been a rollercoaster ride with exhilarating highs and demoralizing lows. A child from a humble background in Uruguay, Suárez overcame life’s early hardships through his prodigious talent and relentless drive to succeed.
After announcing himself in the Netherlands with Ajax, Suárez became one of the deadliest strikers in the world at Liverpool. His goalscoring exploits for the Reds remain legendary, as he almost fired them to the Premier League title in 2014 while breaking records. At Barcelona, Suárez formed a world-beating strikeforce with Messi and Neymar, conquering Europe.
However, Suárez’s brilliance has always been clouded by disciplinary issues, especially his inexplicable biting incidents. Though his winning mentality drives him to breach acceptable behavior at times, his passion is also why he has bounced back from adversity to find success again at Atletico Madrid.
As Suárez enters the twilight of his career, his legacy as one of the 21st century’s most complete and dominant centre-forwards is assured. The boy from Salto has come a long way through his self-belief and an unquenchable hunger to be the best.
What is Luis Suárez’s current age and nationality?
Luis Suárez is currently 35 years old. He was born on January 24, 1987 in Salto, Uruguay. He represents the Uruguayan national team at international level.
For which clubs has Luis Suárez played?
Suárez began his career in Uruguay with Nacional in 2005. He moved to Europe to play for Groningen (2006–07) and Ajax (2007–11) in the Netherlands.
He starred for Liverpool in the Premier League from 2011 to 2014 before joining Barcelona. He left Barca in 2020 for Atlético Madrid, where he currently plays.
How many career goals and caps does Suárez have?
Suárez has scored over 500 career club goals for his teams. He is Uruguay’s all-time top scorer with 68 goals in 134 international appearances since 2007.
What are some of Suárez’s biggest achievements and honors?
Suárez has won league titles in the Netherlands, England, Spain and a Champions League with Barcelona.
He was Premier League top scorer in 2014, won two European Golden Shoes and multiple Player of the Year awards. He is regarded as one of the greatest Uruguayan and South American footballers ever.
What controversies is Suárez most known for?
Suárez has been embroiled in several biting controversies where he bit opponents during matches.
He infamously bit Otman Bakkal, Giorgio Chiellini and Sergio Ramos in 2010, 2014 and 2016 respectively. These incidents earned him lengthy bans and damaged his reputation.