Luis Suarez has been a success at every club he’s represented – from Ajax to Liverpool, Atletico Madrid to Barcelona – and he appears hell-bent on maintaining that record to the very end.
Almost three years have passed since the Uruguayan’s unceremonious exit from Barcelona. He’d become the club’s third all-time top goalscorer in just six seasons, averaging 51 goals and assists per year. In that time he won everything there was to win, including four La Liga titles and four Copa del Rey.
But Suarez was deemed expendable amid the Catalan club’s looming financial implosion and allowed to join rivals Atletico Madrid for a cut-price £5.5million fee in a bid to free the club of his hefty wages.
“You deserved a farewell befitting who you are: one of the most important players in the history of the club, achieving great things for the team and on an individual level,” fuming best mate Messi wrote on Instagram.
“You did not deserve for them to throw you out like they did. But the truth is that at this stage nothing surprises me any more.”
What happened next shouldn’t have been a surprise to anybody. He scored 21 league goals to fire Atletico to the La Liga title, his fifth in seven years, as Barcelona floundered a distant seven points behind.
• • • •
• • • •
Time appeared to have caught up with Suarez in year two in the Spanish capital. He scored a comparatively paltry 11 goals as Diego Simeone’s side mounted a feeble defence of their title and looked sluggish and awkward getting about the pitch. Once again he was thanked for his service and cast aside.
His days as a goalscorer at the top of the European game appeared to be over. It would’ve been easy for Suarez to choose that moment to hang up his boots or take an easy payday in a less competitive environment.
But that’s not his style. With an insatiable appetite for a genuine meaningful challenge, Suarez returned to Montevideo’s Nacional. He spent just six months there but notched eight goals and three assists in just 14 appearances and played a key role in their Uruguayan Primera Division title.
After Uruguay’s World Cup group-stage exit and yet more questions over his miles in the tank, Suarez then joined Brazilian club Gremio, where he immediately hit the ground running with a hat-trick on his debut.
The 36-year-old has already lifted two pieces of silverware in his first five months in Porto Alegre. He’s scored 10 goals and notched five assists in his first 21 appearances.
And his latest goal – a 79th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Cruzeiro – is up there with the very best of his 500+ career goals.
Luis Suarez is having himself a lovely time out in Brazilpic.twitter.com/7ZyryG7JFG
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) May 18, 2023
An outrageous trivela-style stab at the ball from the edge of the box, the technique is just obscene.
As Suarez approaches the final chapter of his brilliant career, you can be sure that he’ll continue scoring goals until the very end. And invariably a fair few of them will take your breath away.
It’s what he’s done in his entire career. Why would he stop now?