Luis Suarez at 32: Reflecting on the Career So Far of a Once in a Generation Striker

There is nobody in modern footballing history comparable to Luis Suarez. 

Rarely has a single career in sports seen so many highs, only to be blighted by so much negative attention. Still, despite everything that has happened during his career, it is impossible to deny this generational talent that has been at the forefront of European football for a decade.

The Uruguayan, who turned 32 on Thursday, seemingly had his reputation damaged at each stop of his career on the continent. His first European club Groningen were the first side made to deal with both sides of the striker's game as he managed to accumulate four goals. three yellow cards and one straight dismissal in just a five-game stretch.

Dutch Eredivisie - FC Utrecht v FC Groningen

His disciplinary issues only worsened during his time at Ajax. Suarez was banned for seven games by the Dutch FA after ​biting midfielder Otman Bakkal in a clash with PSV Eindhoven.

Yet the fans in Amsterdam accepted him as one of their own, and he would even go on to become the club captain and score an astonishing 111 goals in 159 appearances - joining the likes of Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp and Jari Litmanen as one of only a handful of players to score over 100 goals for the club. 

​Suarez then joined Liverpool in January of 2010 and immediately warmed himself to the Kop, scoring in his first game for the Reds in a 2-0 win over ​Stoke City. 

It was the 2011/12 season where Suarez began to look comfortable in English football, scoring his first Premier League hat-trick at Carrow Road in a 3-0 win against ​Norwich City (not the only time he would inflict that kind of suffering on the Norfolk club) and helping his team to a ​League Cup triumph against ​Cardiff. It was the first trophy the club had won since 2006.

Dirk Kuyt,Luis Suarez

Of course, Suarez's time on Merseyside was marred in controversy, the Uruguayan was suspended for eight games in 2011 following an incident with ​Manchester United defender ​Patrice Evra, whilst receiving a one match ban after being charged with making an obscene gesture toward ​Fulham fans in the same season. 

​The incidents didn't stop after 2011. Suarez was given a 10-match ban from the FA after ​biting Branislav Ivanovic during a ​2-2 draw in 2013 - a game in which he went on to score the injury-time equaliser having not been sent off for the biting incident initially. 


2013/14 was a new high for Suarez, scoring ​31 goals in 33 league games as Liverpool came agonisingly close to their first league title since 1990.

During that season, Suarez became the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush to score 30 league goals in a season, and the first player to score 20 ​Premier League goals in consecutive seasons for the Reds since Robbie Fowler did it in 1996. It was no wonder the Liverpool faithful had grown so fond of their star striker - he was the most talented forward these fans had been able to watch in decades. 

Unfortunately for Liverpool, such performances attract attention. Following an attempt from ​​Arsenal to sign the striker the year before - and Suarez and then coach Brendan Rodgers having a public fall out as a result, Barcelona were very much keen on prising an unsettled Suarez away from Anfield. 

Suarez was once again found in the midst of a suspension fiasco during that summer, after being found guilty of ​biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay's group stage match at 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Luis Suarez

It was the second time he had been involved in controversy at a World Cup, after stopping a shot on the goal line with his hand in the final minute of extra time of the 2010 quarter finals.

As a result of the incident, Suarez was handed a four-month ban and subsequently couldn't make his debut for Barcelona following a ​£65m move until El Clásico on October 25th.

Since then however, the distractions seem to have been put behind him. Suarez has had one or two run ins with the Spanish FA in regards to individual Copa del Rey incidents, but has largely let his goalscoring write the headlines during his time with the Catalan giants. 


In four and a half years with the Spanish club, Suarez has managed to become one of the top five all-time goalscorers for Barcelona, with an incredible 167 goals in 228 games. Suarez impressed again last season, scoring ​31 goals in all competitions.

A serial winner, not only did he win the golden boot as Uruguay won the Copa America in 2011, but Suarez has claimed silverware at each club he has played for since leaving Groningen - winning a Dutch Cup and Eredivise during his time at Ajax, an aforementioned League Cup with Liverpool and a host of trophies during his time in Spain. There, he's secured three league titles, four consecutive Copas and a Champions League at Barcelona. 

Champions League final - 'Barcelona v Juventus'

Now one of the top five goalscorers in Barcelona history, Suarez has exceeded even the lofty expectations he set for himself after his fine form in England by cementing himself on the ever-growing list of South American legends to play in European football. 

If not the most naturally talented centre-forward of the 21st century, he's certainly one of them. 

It looks as though Barcelona are going to win their fourth league title in the five years he has been at the club, with Suarez once again being a key reason for their success. If he continues his fine goal-scoring form in the twilight of his career, it will only ever become harder and harder to refute the legend of Luis Suarez.

Source : 90min