Luis Suarez has been one of football’s very best players over the past decade.
As brilliant as he is controversial, the Uruguayan hit an astonishing milestone of 500 goals this weekend. Among active players, only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robert Lewandowski have reached this figure.
And what better way to celebrate the occasion than by looking back at the key points of his phenomenal career? Here are Luis Suarez’s best moments (so far).
Making his name on the big stage
Suarez came into the tournament off the back of an astonishing season at Ajax, scoring 49 goals in 48 appearances. So it came as no surprise that he shone at the 2010 World Cup.
In his first-ever international tournament, he opened his account in the third group game against Mexico, nodding in at the back post from Edinson Cavani’s cross. This was the only goal of the game, ensuring that Uruguay finished top of the group.
He carried this form into their round of 16 tie against South Korea. The forward netted a brace in a 2-1 win, including a brilliant curling effort with ten minutes remaining to set up a clash with Ghana in the quarter-finals.
It was a bittersweet ending in South Africa for Suarez. In the dying seconds of the quarter-final tie, he handballed a header off the line to prevent a winner for Ghana. In the process, he received a red card, ending his tournament.
However, the resulting penalty was missed by Asamoah Gyan, and Uruguay progressed during the shootout.
His performances at the tournament earned him a move to Liverpool a few months later, replacing the ever-popular Fernando Torres. It’s safe to say his move to Anfield was a success.
Following a strong showing at the World Cup, Uruguay went one step further at the Copa America in 2011.
La Celeste lifted the trophy and Suarez was the star of the show, winning the Player of the Tournament award for his performances.
It started in the group stage when he bagged the equaliser in his country’s 1-1 draw against Peru. But it was the knockout phase where he really stole the spotlight.
After scraping past Argentina via a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals, Uruguay again faced Peru in the semi-finals. Suarez was at his best with a second half double, firstly squeezing one in from a tight angle, and secondly rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net.
The striker continued to impress in the final against Paraguay. He scored the opening goal in the 11th minute, striking in off the post via a small deflection. He later set up Diego Forlan for his second and Uruguay’s third, sealing the trophy with a 3-0 win.
Destroying Norwich City…again
Many English sides feared Luis Suarez, but none more so than Norwich City. The former Groningen man hit three hat-tricks past the Canaries during his time in England – and none of them more impressive than the one on December 3rd 2013.
Suarez enjoyed a fine evening at Anfield, sealing his hat-trick within the first 35 minutes. The first was one of his best-ever strikes – a dipping half-volley from approximately 35 yards out. He followed this up shortly afterwards with his second from Steven Gerrard’s corner.
His third was another moment of magic. The forward flicked the ball past Leroy Fer and rifled an unstoppable strike into the far corner, ensuring that he’d take home the match ball.
And yet, he wasn’t done there. He capped off a memorable evening with another stunner, this time finding the corner with a 30-yard free-kick.
PFA Player of the Year winner
The game against Norwich was a microcosm of Suarez’s sensational season.
The Uruguayan was the division’s stand out player, scoring 31 goals, equalling the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League season (since broken by Mohamed Salah in 2017/18). To make things even more impressive, he missed the opening five games of the season with a ban and didn’t take a single penalty.
Despite missing out on the title, Suarez won the PFA Player of the Year award, becoming only the second Liverpool player to do so in the Premier League era.
Sending England home
Uruguay were drawn in a tough group for the 2014 World Cup, alongside England, Italy, and Costa Rica. Their task was made a lot harder after the opening game when they were on the end of a shock 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica.
La Celeste went into their second game against England needing a win. The Three Lions were in a similar position, having lost their first game against Italy.
Rather unsurprisingly, Suarez was Uruguay’s hero. He broke the deadlock in the first half with a header and later capitalised on a Gerrard mistake for his second of the game. Uruguay won 2-1, and England were eliminated.
However, it was not without the usual controversy. The striker bit Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder in the final group game, meaning that he missed the rest of the tournament, the opening weeks of the next season, and the 2015 Copa America.
Treble delight and the formation of MSN
Off the back of his displays for Liverpool and Uruguay, Barcelona smashed their transfer record to bring Suarez to the Camp Nou. It was there where he linked up with Lionel Messi and Neymar, forming the iconic trio known as ‘MSN’.
His debut season was one to remember, as La Blaugrana won the treble. Suarez was instrumental in all three major competitions.
The highlight of his first La Liga season came in his first El Clasico at the Camp Nou. With the scores level at 1-1, the forward slid one past Iker Casillas to put Barcelona ahead. This ended up being the winner and one that proved to be vital; Real Madrid finished just two points off the top that season.
But it was in the Champions League where he played his best stuff. Suarez scored seven goals throughout the tournament, including braces to knock out Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain and one in the final against Juventus.
Europe’s top scorer
While he may have missed out on a second successive Champions League trophy, it was in 2015/16 when Suarez was at his peak.
He enjoyed his best-ever goalscoring season, finding the net 59 times in just 53 outings. 40 of these came in the league, making him the only player since 2009 not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the La Liga Golden Boot.
Once again, he starred in El Clasico, scoring twice as Barcelona humiliated Real Madrid 4-0 at the Bernabeu.
Furthermore, his 40 league goals won him the European Golden Shoe, awarded to the top goalscorer in the European leagues.
Read also: Eden Hazard’s best moments as he turns 30.