I ONCE DREAMED OF PLAYING FOR BARCELONA-SUAREZ

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Many years ago, he was a fan of the Spanish club giant, FC Barcelona, and his dream was to play for the club one day. In July 2014, the Uruguayan professional footballer, Luis Suarez, moved to Barcelona for a fee reported by the English press in the region of £75m (N20bn), making him the third most expensive player in football history. He is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.

In a video clip showing an interaction with fans at his new club last week, Suarez said he was happy his dream had finally come true.

He said, “It dates back many years ago when my wife and her family moved here almost 12 years ago. I used to visit every six months when I had free time in Uruguay and I would spend my holidays here, and well, I enjoyed the city. The atmosphere of the stadium everytime I visited was cool and as time went by, I came to Europe and then I could visit more often.

“Everytime I had a day off, I came here because I loved it. I also bought stuff the first time I came here. I bought Barcelona bag packs and other things from the club. I was a big fan and my dream was to play here, and well, to have this privilege today, I value it.

“When I started coming here and became a fan, it was the time of Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto’o; the beginning of Leo and really, it was a football that was nice to see. Then came the Guardiola era when Andres and Xavi controlled the team. Everytime, we from other teams would say ‘how easy it must be with players so skilled, it must be easy for a striker to score with them.’ And now I have that responsibility here.”

Suarez also narrated what he did each time he passed through tough times, like, well, biting other players on the pitch.

“Everyone knows my parents-in-law live in Castelldefels. I like that area outside Barcelona, but well, what I can see is that despite these past few weeks, I can walk downtown easily. When things are very complicated, I like to take walks,” he said.

Suarez also talked about his two hobbies, “I like playing with my kids; that is my hobby. If I have another hobby, it is my PlayStation. I must have had it since I was 13 years old. If I have time just for myself, I play PlayStation with my friends.”

He also disclosed why he makes gesture with three fingers anytime he scores a goal. He said he does it to dedicate his goals to his wife, daughter and son.

“First, I had my wife’s tattoo. I always kissed the ring tattoo, then my daughter’s. When my second kid, Benjamin, was born, I didn’t have a tattoo for him, and had to dedicate to him too. Because I didn’t have the tattoo, I made this gesture with three fingers to celebrate the three of them and I liked the way it looked. So from that moment on, despite having the tattoo, the name, I just joke around, saying that I need two extra minutes after scoring to celebrate the goals,” he said.

Suarez’s style of play

The 27-year-old FC Barcelona forward creates goal scoring chances with his powerful shot, and remarkable technical ability. An English football club manager, Harry Redknapp, once said that Suárez could play anywhere – as the target man or behind as a second striker.

Likewise, Uruguay coach, Óscar Tabárez, called him “a great forward, an elite player among forwards in the world,” while Liverpool coach Kenny Dalglish said, “he’s intelligent, he’s had a fantastic education at Ajax.”

A former Liverpool club striker, John Aldridge, said Suarez’s abilities allow him to get into a position to score and evade defenders. Suarez has been praised for his work rate and quickness that allow him to attack from the outside. He also creates scoring opportunities for his teammates.

However, former Ajax coach, Van Basten, once criticised him for his tendency to pick up yellow cards. Basten said he had a tense relationship with Suárez, although he conceded, “Luis is unpredictable, he’s hard to influence but that makes him special. At times, Suárez can be dominant but fail to convert his efforts into goals. Despite his weaknesses, Suárez’s leadership stood out to Ajax management.”

Suárez has also been widely accused of diving. His manager, teammates and various analysts have commented that this reputation for simulation had caused referees not to award him legitimate penalties.

Likewise, he has also been accused of stamping on opponents in the Premier League and the Europa League. In December 2013, a Spanish football website, El Gol Digital, ranked him at 5th in its list of the world’s dirtiest footballers.

These haven’t stopped his bucks from rolling in

Despite the ‘dirty’ style of play, Suárez has a sponsorship deal with German sportswear and equipment supplier, Adidas. He also starred in a 2014 advert for a headphones manufacturing company, Beats, with other football stars including Neymar and Thierry Henry. He features in EA Sports’ FIFA video game series and is the seventh highest rated player in FIFA 15.

He is reportedly worth $40m (N6.4bn).

Suarez has homes in both England and Uruguay. His Uruguay mansion is protected by a 14-foot security wall which is topped by a lethal electric fence. The former Liverpool star’s security is high level.

Alsatian guard dogs patrol the grounds of the luxury home and CCTV cameras film every inch of the compound. A huge sliding gate allows cars to enter once they have been cleared. He was once photographed unlocking a barred security gate to a balcony at his plush Uruguay home.

On cars, the star striker reportedly owns some of the world’s best cars including a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Porsche Cayenne. But the BMW X5 is his favourite.

The BMW X5 handles like the company’s famed sports sedans, which is the top reason to consider this crossover. With an optional third row, its flexibility and styling make it a lovely car. A 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six is standard; a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V-8 and a turbo-diesel 3.0-litre inline-six are optional.

Sources: fcbarcelona.com, en.wikipedia.org, sportrichlist.com

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