Copa America 2011 Player Profiles: Luis Suarez - Uruguay

In all likelihood, Luis Suarez will never live down a certain incident that occurred during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa against Ghana. And that's fine - many people will hate him for having the nerve to play football in a sensible manner. That's their prerogative.

But there's far more to the Uruguayan dynamo than a handball on the line in a World Cup quarterfinal. And no, i'm not talking about the time he bit Ottman Bakkal on the shoulder, either, which has been curiously underplayed (and is far worse than the Ghana incident, in all honesty). Luis Suarez is, simply put, one of the top wide forwards operating in the game, and both Uruguay and Liverpool are privileged to have him on their teams.

Sublimely talented, with excellent vision, a good shot and the ability to dribble through defenders, Suarez cuts a menacing presence on the pitch while belies his slight stature. Even in a world where Andy Carroll lines up alongside him, Suarez is the focal point of defensive attention - and that makes everyone around him more dangerous, something that will deeply worry Uruguay's opponents, who have to deal with not only the Liverpool hitman but both Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan as well.

While Cavani and Forlan are both more traditional centre forwards (there's some confusion on just how those two will play together), Suarez is cut from different cloth. The modern 4-3-3 requires playmaking, goalscoring wingers rather than players who'll simply get to the byline and sling in crosses, and Suarez is much happier to take the ball infield himself than he is going wide.

That, of course, is where he's most dangerous. He can and will pop up on both flanks, beat his man, either laying off an incisive pass or shooting with his favoured right foot. He's exceptionally dangerous when coming in from the left flank thanks to his uncanny accuracy and absurd power, demonstrated in spectacular fashion with a stunning goal against South Korea last summer to win the second-round match for Uruguay.

The wide forward role is often known as a 'support striker', which is code for 'he plays high up the pitch but doesn't actually score that often'. Wide forwards are creators more than goalscorers as midfielders delegate playmaking duties to those coming inside from the flanks. But Suarez breaks the mould.

He's a creator, true, but he's also an incredibly lethal finisher, scoring 111 goals in 159 appearances for Ajax int he Eredivisie, including a 2009/10 season in which he netted 49 times. His impressive season drew notice from across Europe, with Liverpool eventually bidding €26.5 for his services. His move to Anfield went smoothly despite the club being rocked by the departure of Fernando Torres, and so far he's done plenty to make fans forget their former hero.

Uruguay, on the other hand, didn't need Suarez to move to England to appreciate just how good a footballer they have on their hands. They've known who he was for a long, long time.


Name: Luis Suarez

Age: 24

Team: Uruguay

Position: Wide Forward

Club Team: Liverpool (England, Premier League)

Chances Copa America increases transfer interest: None. Following a big money move to Liverpool it's unlikely that Suarez goes anywhere anytime soon.

Role with team: Right winger in probable 4-2-3-1.

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