Why You'll Like Him
He scores goals, lots and lots of goals. Like a shocking number of goals. Seriously.
Why You'll Hate Him
Imagine if A-Rod, right after signing with the Rangers, openly talked about his dream of one day playing for the Red Sox, but that he'd also be interested in playing for the Yankees if they asked. Suarez basically did the soccer equivalent of that, signing an extension with Ajax, immediately professing his desire to play for Barça and then openly inviting the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea to woo him.
Strikers need to be heartless. Luis Suarez might take that a little too literally. In a Dutch Cup match -- that's Holland's all-inclusive tournament, similar to the FA Cup -- against an amateur side, Suarez rolled up six goals and two assists during a 14-1 romp. The best parts? He managed to pick up his second yellow card of the tournament, which meant he had to sit out the next game, and scored his final two goals in the 86th and 89th minutes. Classy.
That game, though, presents a near perfect picture of one of world's best goal scorers. Suarez accumulates bookings like he's Bill Graham (he was a concert promoter, in case you're too young or don't live in the Bay Area), picking up about one every fourth match (42 in 187 games since coming to Holland). He scores even more often. Last year, he averaged more than a goal per league match. In five Dutch league seasons, he's scored 114 goals in all competitive matches (84 in league play). The man is going to drive you crazy one way or another.
Club Teams: Ajax (2007-2010); Groningen (2006-07); Nacional (2005-06)
National Team Debut: Feb. 8, 2007 against Bolivia
World Cup(s): 0
He started out playing for Nacional of the Uruguayan first division, for whom he also played as a junior. He scored 12 goals in his first season and then was purchased by Eredivisie side Groningen. In one season there, he 10 scored goals and had six assists in 29 league matches as a 19-year-old. Ajax, which had already expressed interest at the time of the original transfer, finally got their man with for about $8.5 million.
Since joining the storied Dutch side in the 2007-08 season, Suarez has been as dominant a player as any on the continent. In his first season with Ajax he scored 17 goals and assisted on 14 others. He upped that to 21 and 15 the next year. It was a prelude, though, to last season when he scored 35 goals and had 17 assists in 33 league matches. Throughout all competitions last season, he scored 50 goals and had 24 assists in 53 matches. He also managed to accumulate 13 yellow cards.
Ajax's investment is looking pretty good these days, as his estimated value is about $23 million.
This will be Suarez's first World Cup since joining the national team in 2007. While not posting the eye-popping numbers he has in professional competition, he has scored 10 times in 29 national team matches, including five during World Cup qualifying. His country's fortunes lie almost entirely with his ability to link up with fellow international phenom Diego Forlan, last seen scoring two goals in Atletico Madrid's Europa Cup championship.
What to Look For
Suarez does two things with more frequency than just about anyone else in the world: Score goals and accumulate yellow cards. It goes without saying that Uruguay's ability to advance out of the group stage will rest heavily on his ability to limit one of those things. If he can stay on the field, it doesn't seem too farfetched for him and Forlan to star in a Cinderella story. Uruguay is already, by far, the least populace nation to ever win a World Cup and with about 3.4 million people currently living there is one of the smallest nations to ever participate in the competition. That two players with this kind of talent were born within eight years of one another seems only slightly less improbable than their country winning its third World Cup.
Jeremiah Oshan failed to accumulate any yellow cards during the drafting of this profile, but over at Sounder at Heart, Oshan is the apple of Terry Vaughn's eye.