Luiz Saurez’s penchant for sinking his teeth into opposition defenders may well mean that he will always be disliked by the vast majority of football fans.
However, barely anybody will ever try to argue that during his spells with Ajax, Liverpool and current club Barcelona he has proven himself to be a truly world class striker.
Ahead of his return to Anfield tonight, here are 15 of the best quotes by people who have played and worked with the Uruguay international.
“Luis arrived here (Ajax) with a decent reputation but he was not a big player then. In the dressing room he soon stood up and became a leader. That’s why he was special. We’ll remember him for his incredible amount of goals and what he has done for the club. Our fans were crazy about him.” – Ajax Managing Director Rik van den Boog.
“For him not to be in the top three of the Ballon d’Or was incredible. He left Liverpool as a world-class player and he’s gone into a Barcelona team that was already up there and made them better. Playing with that level of players as well has obviously made him a better player. He’s still young enough to win that accolade but he’s certainly up there with the best.” – Brendan Rodgers.
“I don’t think anyone ever looks forward to playing against Luis Suarez, he is a fantastic talent and a very dangerous player. He is a fantastic team mate, probably the best player I have played with.” – Steven Gerard.
“He is simply one of the greatest players who ever played for the club (Liverpool). Talk about all-time greats and he is in the top five. The goals he scored and the way he played was mind-blowing. You could see he was going to be great the moment he walked into Melwood and got on the training pitch. [ . . . ] Luis came in and just took our breath away on the training pitch. You could see we had a top, top talent and that talent reached a pinnacle for Liverpool at the end of 2013 and in the first half of 2014. He was unplayable at times. Perfect.” – Jamie Carragher.
“It is my belief that when you bring a player to a football club, he becomes your responsibility. You don’t just turn you back on a player because he has done something wrong. I think you will find that Liverpool will not turn their back on Suarez, whatever the ban Fifa have decided he must serve. Sometimes, when people have something wrong with them, just because they don’t have a plaster cast on their leg, people think they don’t need help.” – Kenny Dalglish after Suarez bite Branislav Ivanovic.
“The Fifa sanction is shameful, they have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo. It hurts that they have cut short the career of a lad who is a winner. It’s an excessive suspension. Fifa cannot talk about morals to anyone. Suarez didn’t kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia.” – Diego Maradona after Suarez bite Girogio Chiellini.
“I don’t care if he bites. I don’t care if he’s bitten before. He knows it’s not the correct way to behave but as a player he is in the top three or five strikers in the world so I am really happy to have him in my team.” – Gerard Pique.
“He doesn’t mess around, he bears down on you and takes players on like a street footballer, which is why for me he’s the best in the world.” – Cristian Rodriguez.
“Luis is a penalty area assassin, a killer, capable of resolving any situation that crops up in the area. If we also consider the pressure he puts on defenders by closing them down and the way he encourages the others, then he is indispensable.” – Luis Enrique.
“He is (a) player who defines the style shift (at Barcelona) and also a player who I think was very necessary for Barcelona. He is the closest thing they have had to Samuel Eto’o and the perfect player to fit with Messi and Neymar (of those available at least). Also, for all the public image of him, he’s also got a near perfect attitude. For a player of that ability and that significance, he is remarkably lacking in individual ego. Desperate to win, but not particularly worried about being at the heart of that win: no particular desperation to be the goal scorer or the superstar. Less technically gifted than (Messi and Neymar) but works, pressures, plays, stretches defences, gives physical presence.” – Sid Lowe, Spanish football journalist.
“Suarez has everything, he fights, great movement, he is the right age and obviously he scores goals. He gives something to the team, that especially at Barcelona is very important. It is the hard work that Samuel Eto’o used to do, not just goals.” – Thierry Henry.
“He has goals in his blood. I have said that more will come. He will start scoring goals. He reminds me a bit, with his killer instinct to damage other teams, of Samuel Eto’o, that bad mood, that personality, that persistence.” – Xavi.
“What makes players different is their talent. Luis Suarez has arrived at the ideal team to showcase his abilities. His talent is undoubtable. He’s a complete forward and Barcelona have goals for many years to come.” – Andres Iniesta.
“In training it’s unbelievable. He has got that instinct that means when there are two or three rebounds in the box, the ball will always end up at his feet and he’ll score.” – Gerard Pique
“He is the best out-and-out forward there is in the game today. He has so much to offer the team and it is a pleasure to play alongside him. We also have a very good relationship off the pitch and I am very happy to be sharing everything with him.” – Lionel Messi.