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Luis Suarez – The next big thing?

Date of Birth: 24 January 1987 (age 23)

Height: 181 cm

Position: Forward/Striker

Current club: Ajax (captain)

International Caps: 34

International Goals: 13

Luis Suarez had had a fairly quiet World Cup up until last Saturday’s 2nd round versus South Korea. The 23 year old had impressed in spells and even opened his World Cup goals account against a nervy, Mexico but there still remained the sense that he was playing in the shadow of his strike partner, Diego Forlan.

However, this all changed in the 80th minute in a rain soaked, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Suarez had already calmly grabbed his 2nd goal of the tournament early on via a South Korean keeper blunder. But the Koreans had rallied, relentlessly attacking the Uruguayan defence culminating in an equalizer in 68 minutes. The playing conditions had visibly worsened in this time so when Forlan swung in a corner the Koreans struggled to clear adequately. Suarez received the ball on the edge of the goal area, dummied one player to create space and curled a beautiful shot onto the far left hand post and into the net.


It was fabulous goal. Easily the best in the tournament so far and announced Suarez onto the World football stage. In the aftermath a jubilant Suarez described his feelings;

“Being young, this is the moment I have always dreamed of,” he said. “I can imagine what it will be like back in Uruguay. When I scored the winning goal it was an incredible feeling, an indescribable joy, I couldn’t believe it.”

Many had not heard of the Uruguayan striker before this year’s tournament. Alex Ferguson was not one of these people. The Manchester United manager had been keenly, monitoring Suarez in a season where he scored 49 goals in all competitions. Similarly, both Milan giants and Real Madrid were said to be pursuing the Ajax captain but the anticipated bidding war at the seasons end did not materialise. As a result Suarez entered the World Cup free of transfer concerns and a good level of stability in Holland. The World Cup aftermath should prove to be more eventful.  Even with a reported £40 million price tag.

Suarez celebrates

Suarez started his football career by rising through the ranks of Club Nacional in Uruguay’s first division until becoming a first team member in the 2005-06 season. His goal scoring performances contributed greatly to his sides Championship success and earned him an early move to Europe and Gronigen of Holland. A further impressive season for the Dutch club attracted the attention of many European clubs but the youngster decided to stay in the Netherlands but this time for Ajax.

Since 2007 Suarez has notched an impressive 74 goals in 97 appearances for Ajax. His goal tally may have been more if he had not picked up so many suspensions due to needless yellow cards and competition from Klaas Jan Huntelaar. It remains to be seen if the Uruguayan can replicate his form in one of the bigger leagues but the Eridivisie is no pub league so the step up should not be too great.

Since making his International debut against Columbia in 2007 Suarez has made 34 appearances with 13 goals. During the last qualifying campaign Suarez cemented his squad membership with impressive displays alongside Diego Forlan and Edison Cavani.

Suarez has formed and formidable partnership with Forlan during this World Cup with each player being equally adept as goal scorer or provider, a fact not lost to Forlan.

“Luis and I have a great relationship,” said Forlan recently, “There is no secret as we both take turns to play furthest forward. Sometimes we switch to go wide, but at the top, we stand next to the defender closest to his goal and try to become the first to the ball.”

The lethal partnership

Luis “El Pistelero” (or “the beast”) Suarez is a striker with immense ability. He is comfortable on each foot but lethal with the right. He is a World class finisher with an unmatched scoring record but also a beautiful passer of the ball with proficient, technical ability. Although not the tallest of the strikers he is devastating in the air and dangerous threat to any defence. He has already scored 3 goals in this World Cup and with Ghana as his next opponents he may to add to his total on Friday.

One thing for sure after this tournament is that Luis Suarez will be playing for one of the major European clubs.

The only question will be at what price?



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