Luis “El Pistolero” Suárez was not Barcelona’s “first choice” when they signed him back in 2014, according to the club’s former sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta. Can you imagine? Here you have a guy (crazy or not, depending on whether you think Giorgio Chiellini was just trolling him with the bite incident) who helped his team to five trophies last year – scoring 15 league goals in the process – and you’re trying to tell us that he wasn’t your first choice? Damn. The luxury of being Barcelona.
“In the winter, we tried to sign [Sergio “Kun”] Agüero, but it didn’t work out,” Zubizarreta revealed. It was only when the door to the Argentine international had apparently been slammed shut that Barça made Suárez its “only target.”
“The Chiellini incident happened while the negotiations were ongoing,” Zubizarreta went on. “That business put off many of the clubs who were interested in him; there were question marks over his character and how serious his punishment would be. I felt it was the right time to step up our efforts to sign him.”
As key factors in the club’s desire to snatch El Pistolero from Liverpool for €65 million after the 2014 World Cup, Zubizarreta highlights Suárez’s ability to “run the channels” and give Barcelona something they were lacking. There was also another crucial factor: Suárez was “totally desperate to join Barça.” Open desperation has paid dividends for Luisito, that’s for sure.
Suárez’s current run of form has him en route to winning La Liga’s Pichichi award for top goalscorer (he’s currently leading the race after a hat-trick effort in a 6-0 drubbing over Athletic Bilbao at home this past weekend), and he’s tallied 29 goals and 10 assists over Barça’s last 29 games. Arguments for #SuárezBallondOr are not unfounded, either; his teammate Messi took the award, but Luisito could very well be the best forward in the world at the moment, outshining the often-injured Kun, Lewandowski, and his La Liga friends and foes.