Interviews

The truth about Luis Suarez, by those who know him best

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SB The way Luis plays football, and the way he is in my house, is totally different. He’s the complete opposite. Everything he does at football isn’t on in my house. No chance. My house is a place for calm, for the children.

PS Luis is a quiet guy, but when he enters the pitch, he’s different. I’ve never met someone so eager to win in any situation, no matter if it’s a training session or a friendly game, the pre-season or post-season. He’s always focused on scoring and winning.

PG Do the controversies come from an insatiable desire to win? Look, obviously, he wants to win, but whether these things happen because he wants it too much, I don’t know. I’m convinced that if he were conscious about what he was about to do in those moments, like Chiellini or Ivanovic, then he wouldn’t do it. Of course not. Luis doesn’t want to be four months without playing football, or be on the receiving end of a massive fine, or have the entire press pack criticise everything he does. No-one would want that.

SB When it comes to home, it’s time to forget about football because it can hangover. After he scored four goals for Liverpool against Norwich in December 2013, he said: “Aren’t you going to congratulate me?!” I’d already said “well done” when he came off the pitch!

Joining Barcelona

PG Back in Uruguay, Luis had the dream to play for a big European team and he certainly did that at Liverpool, in a league as competitive as the Premier League. But Barcelona is always something else; something special. It’s a way of culminating, to some extent, his career and journey.

Speaking honestly, it’s the club he loves. The possibility of playing for a club like this comes around very rarely and you have to take advantage of it.

PS We are all living a dream with Luis. As a brother, and as a Uruguayan, I’m so proud of him. To realise that he’s the national team’s top scorer in history, after so many legends that have played in the light-blue shirt, is really too much. And the best part is that there’s more to come, he’s still young and ambitious.

SB I still can’t believe all this has happened. It’s almost as if I’m watching him play for the first time, because of the nerves I get, knowing how much it means to him. I’m still processing it all, really. Maybe later in the season, hopefully with a trophy to hold, that’ll change.

DF It’s always been his dream to play for Barcelona. His wife's family have lived there for a long time so he has been a regular visitor. There's a huge football club there too and I think he's liked the idea of playing at Barça for a while. Many players do, but he has more reasons than most.

SB Luis has always wanted to play here. It’s not something that we ever really spoke about when we were in Uruguay because it seemed such a faraway dream that he would even play football professionally. It’s always been his dream to play for Barcelona, probably like any little boy growing up.

PG These sorts of transfers are a process. It doesn’t all begin on one day. In Luis’ case, you’re looking at three months’ work. There was contact before the World Cup. Quite a while before. I have a relationship with a lot of clubs, but this was different. From the time we first spoke to the paperwork being signed, there’s a long road to go. A lot of obstacles.

SB This is our second home. Our daughter Delfina was born here, we have the majority of our family around us. We love the culture, the food and everything that we want is here.

DF It was difficult for him at the beginning, because of the ban. Not being able to play and going through various appeals wasn't easy, but now he's playing and much happier.

He’s surrounded by some of the best players in the world at Barça. No footballer objects to playing with world-class players, even if that means no longer being his team’s biggest star.

SB I’ll never forget his first Barcelona goal away at APOEL in the Champions League. I didn’t travel to Cyprus, but I saw it on the TV. Well, more or less, I saw it, at least.

My son Benjamin had a bit of an accident, so I had to leave the house with him for a bit. He’d hit his head on something, the poor thing. Trust me, I saw Luis’ goal, though. I felt so proud.

Describe Luis in three words...

SB [Pauses] Oof, I don’t think I can do that!

PG Being his agent, in three words? Honoured, proud and challenging. This level and type of players require a permanent presence and challenge to be with them all the time.

DF Determined. Fighter (but in a good sense on the field). Family man. That's four, I know.

Luis Suarez wears the Adidas adizero f50. To buy his shiny new boots go to adidas.com/football or join the conversation on Twitter @adidasfootball.

This feature originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!