Four countries, six clubs and 500 goals. Luis Suárez has been drilling rival goals for 15 years. The Uruguayan international scored his first professional goal on September 10, 2005 in Nacional’s 5-1 win over Paysandú for the Uruguayan championship and, since then, he has not stopped winning matches or scoring goals.
Suárez scored 14 more goals for the club of his loves before making the leap to Europe and never looked back. He broke records in the Dutch Eredivisie, was a star in the Premier League with Liverpool and became Lionel Messi’s best partner during his six seasons at Barcelona. In addition, he has scored more goals than anyone (63) with the Uruguay shirt and, at 34 years old, he is the second highest scorer in La Liga after having scored 19 goals in 25 games with Atlético de Madrid.
The rojiblanco nine scored his 500th professional goal against Alavés to become the fifth active footballer to reach that figure after Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robert Lewandowski.
Suárez has been the top scorer in each of the four leagues in which he has played and along the way he has won, among other titles, a Champions League, a Copa América, an Eredivisie and four Spanish leagues.
The Atlético de Madrid forward wanted to share the joy of his latest achievement by sending 500 balls to grassroots football clubs in each of the seven cities where he has played to inspire children who aspire to one day follow his Steps.
ESPN was also able to spend a few minutes with the Uruguayan to review that past full of successes and discuss his future, with the possible conquest with Atlético of his fifth Spanish league and the hopes of taking Uruguay to the top in the Copa América. to be held in the middle of the year.
Do you remember the first goal?
If I remember. It was against a team from Uruguay: Paysandú. I entered the 81st minute and after 4 or 5 minutes (I scored the goal). I touched a couple of balls and the second one I kicked into the goal, I made a Chilean half, one took it on the line, there was a rebound, he hit the third, I stayed there and I did it. That was the first.
What was the most important?
I think it is difficult to stay with one. Yes you remember all the goals but it is difficult to keep one. The first one is very important in your career, in your country, in the box you are a fan of, in the box you dream of playing in … It is very important that I do the National of Uruguay. The first one you do with the selection of your country is very important too. With the first goal you make in Europe I fulfilled one of my dreams, which is to reach Europe and be able to score a goal. Being Ajax captain and scoring a goal with the Ajax captain tape was incredible. Scoring goals for Liverpool to fight for a Premier … In fact, the first game in which I debuted with Liverpool I scored a goal. It was something dreamed of. Playing a Champions League final and scoring a goal for Barcelona is unforgettable. Playing the Classic of the classics from around the world, a Barcelona-Real Madrid, scoring a goal and winning it with your goal is unforgettable. Playing with Atlético de Madrid and the first game, a few minutes later, converting, is unforgettable. They are very many and it is difficult to stay with one. The final of the Copa América with Uruguay also scoring is something incredible, like in the World Cups.
Do you keep one?
It is difficult, but I would choose two. Obviously, scoring in the final of the Copa América and getting a title with my country, with Uruguay, is the dream of any Uruguayan. Scoring in a Champions League final will always remain in my memories and in the memory of football people.
Which goalkeeper made it more difficult for you?
It is an anecdote, but it is a goalkeeper against whom I played several games and could never score a goal: Kameni.
And defenses. Do you remember any that made you suffer especially?
A defender that cost me and that I have played several times against him was Thiago Silva. I always scored it both when I played for Ajax and when I played for Liverpool. He is a very experienced player. Now there is the possibility of being able to play against him in the Champions League. He is an admirable defender that I have always liked because of the difficulties he generates for you.
Is it better to score with a club or with Uruguay?
It is different. They are different sensations. In the club you have many more possibilities because you have more skills. In the national team it is every so often and you live it much more passionate because there are few possibilities that it gives you, that you generate, but the expectations are many.
Where did we see the best Suarez?
I think I have had many stages in which I have enjoyed, but my time with Ajax, a year in which I think I score 50 goals, was spectacular to keep growing and wanting to get where you want, which is the best in football. And then, the last season I did at Liverpool was unforgettable because apart from the fact that everything worked out for me, I felt very good and people motivated you, and having the possibility of winning a Premier with Liverpool at that time when nobody I wanted to go play in Liverpool, it would have been incredible and we were there. Then it was my dream year: I arrived at Barcelona, I got the treble the first year and the next I was the top scorer. In addition, winning the Golden Boot in the world where everything was Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo … Seeing my name in the middle was something that I will never forget because it was thanks to all the great teammates I had there at Barcelona during that season.
He is the fifth active scorer to exceed 500 goals. What is the next challenge?
The truth is that when we started talking to Puma last year about the 500 goals, which could be a possibility, it was a long way off. And for me it was a long time ago, but everything happens so fast … You are getting things that you don’t realize. And the objective is to enjoy and try to score goals, which is what a striker wants, but at the same time to achieve goals at the group level, which is what we want.