Enigma Suarez driven by will to win at all costs

Jul 12 2014, 08:35 IST
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SummaryCombining game-changing brilliance with headline-grabbing controversy, striker Luis Suarez joins Barcelona with one foot among the greats and the other planted firmly in soccer's hall of infamy.

Combining game-changing brilliance with headline-grabbing controversy, striker Luis Suarez joins Barcelona with one foot among the greats and the other planted firmly in soccer's hall of infamy.

The Uruguayan, whose move to the Spanish side from Liverpool was announced on Friday, played both hero and villain at the World Cup in Brazil just as he had in South Africa four years earlier.

Both tournaments highlighted the two sides of his career.

In Brazil, Suarez came back from injury to score twice and effectively knock England out of the tournament. And then he showed his teeth.

From the moment he bit into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder, the world came crashing in and Barcelona's new signing moves to the Nou Camp despite a four-month suspension from all soccer activities, a fine and a nine-match international ban.

In South Africa, he had forged a reputation as a sharp-eyed goal-getter but then committed a goalline handball that ultimately denied opponents Ghana a place in the semi-finals.

It is a pattern that has been repeated throughout a footballing career where the peaks have been moments of maverick ability and ingenuity that have propelled him into the stratosphere of the game's elite.

The troughs, however, have come to define him just as much. Suarez has now picked up three long suspensions for biting, one for racist abuse and acquired a reputation for diving that has stuck with him despite valiant efforts to shed it.

His abundant quality has never been in doubt. He has a unique ability to engineer and get the better of defenders in one-on-one situations, a deadly finish and a knack for pulling off the spectacular.

That can be lethal when combined with a streak of sheer competitiveness and a healthy distaste for defeat that gives him an almost unrivalled work rate off the ball.

"I'm one of the best players in the world, so having the opportunity to win everything - and losing only occasionally - is what drives me," he told Four Four Two magazine this year.

"I'm ambitious. I want to win and won't stop until I score one, two or more goals."

RECORD SEASON

Despite unfounded fears that a knee injury could scupper his hopes of making the Uruguay squad, he headed to the World Cup in Brazil in the form of his life.

His World Cup qualifying goals, 11 in 16 matches, helped book Uruguay's spot at the finals, while at club side Liverpool, his haul of 31 league strikes was

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