Luis Suarez, the infamous Uruguayan and Liverpool forward, recently known as the 2013-2014 Golden Boot and European Golden Shoe winner (along with Cristiano Ronaldo), has been the English media’s favourite target to write and talk about – whether it be for the good or bad; although going by majority of the time, it has been the case of the latter.
Suarez, who has been in the headlines for his notorious and ill-famed antics attributable to his racial incident with Patrice Evra in the 2011-2012 season, and the bite incident with Branislav Ivanović in the 2012-2013 season, has been giving the same media who never stopped criticising him, reasons to sing praise on his every move this season.
After a lot of controversy surrounding him, Suarez turned around his image this 2013-2014 season by scoring goals like a goal machine and being one of the biggest team players. In spite of missing the first 5 games of the season due to the 10-game ban he received last season, Suarez finished this season with the most number of goals scored by an individual player in the EPL season. The 31 goals were more than enough to make him win the prestigious Golden Boot and a share of the European Golden Shoe. Not only did he just win these two awards, he was also named the PFA Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Liverpool Fans’ Player of the Year, Liverpool Players’ Player of the Year, Liverpool’s Goal of the Season, Premier League Player of the Year and WhoScored.Com’s Player of the Season and Striker of the Season.
Suarez is only the second Liverpool player to win the European Golden Shoe award after Ian Rush in the 1983-1984 season. The first Liverpool player to win the award in 30 years, Suarez helped bring the glorious Champions League nights back to Anfield with Liverpool’s automatic qualification into the Champions League’s group stages. This 2013/14 season, the Uruguayan also broke Robbie Fowler’s club record of 28 goals in a Premier League season – one of the many other records he broke.
Just as the usual “Hero to Zero” story, Suarez has made his a “Zero to Hero” story by improving every season for Liverpool, starting from 11 goals in his first Liverpool season of 2011-2012, then going to 23 goals in the next season to finally scoring 31 this season has just seen the progress of the former Ajax star, as a player, and a person. It has been him maturing as a man and focusing his tenacity and fire much more into his football, being a front line leader for the likes of the other Liverpool forwards Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling and co., giving more thought into team victories than individual accolades, Suarez has given the most he could this season by playing every game like his life depended on it.
Being equally good at assisting and scoring, Suarez’s best quality is that he takes different positions, can start attacks and bring others into play because when he moves, he draws defenders thus creating space for the others. Also being quite unselfish in the sense that most of the time he chooses to pass instead of scoring, if and when he feels someone is in a better position to score.
Of course his exceptional partnership with Daniel Sturridge has stood out this season with the number of goals and assists shared among both of them that has contributed in most of Liverpool’s victories this season. Their tally of goals and assists together has been more than a few teams’ entire number of goals scored – demonstrating the quality of this deadly duo’s strike partnership.
Giving the media nothing to criticise him for this season, Suarez seems like a changed man who is highly loved and appreciated by every Liverpool player and supporter.
Suarez, hailed by Steven Gerrard – the Liverpool and England captain – as the best player he’s ever played alongside at Liverpool, has also received praise from his current Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, with Rodgers saying Suarez has made him a better manager by challenging him everyday:
‘Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two best players in the world and have been for the last four or five years, but Luis is tucked right in there behind them now.’ – Steven Gerrard
“I know for however long I am at Liverpool, whenever I leave I will have become a better manager and a better person because of Luis Suarez and for that I thank him so much.” – Brendan Rodgers
Although hated by a lot of people for his behaviour, Suarez is undeniably one of the best players in Europe and those who genuinely appreciate football will appreciate him for the way he plays the beautiful game and for his extraordinary play-making and goal scoring skills.
Not many imagined Suarez’s road to redemption to be so inspiring and awarding as this, but if he keeps going this way, he has the potential to be the best in the world alongside Messi and Ronaldo; instead of being right behind them as he is now. Already a world class player, the surprises he brings with his performances will be further expected in the upcoming Premier League season and the glorified Champions League games.