Luis Suarez is arguably the greatest striker in the world at the moment, and he has been one for at least the last two seasons. The Uruguayan, who ended the last season with a flourish, seems to have continued in the same vein, having netted a hat-trick in the LaLiga opener against Real Betis at the Camp Nou last weekend.
He was instrumental in helping Barcelona win the treble in the 2014/15 season as he netted 25 goals and assisted a further 24 strikes to win the league title, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey in his inaugural season at the Camp Nou upon his transfer in the summer of 2014 from Liverpool.
He was expected to at least be amongst the top three in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2015, but he missed out on the same as his Barcelona teammate Neymar occupied third spot behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It leads to an entirely valid speculation that Suarez, perhaps, will never win the Ballon d’Or. Why would a player of Suarez’s calibre may never win the Ballon d’Or?
As we discussed in our previous article on the criteria for Ballon d’Or, one of the lesser known factors that contribute to voting for the best player in the world is the behaviour on and off the pitch. Suarez hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory with his on-field behaviour, having served sanctions for biting three separate players on three different occasions.
His fierce competitiveness and an extreme unwillingness to lose often see him stretch the boundaries of fair play to the limit and beyond. He proves a menace for centre-backs both for his amazing skills as well as being on their backs all the time, be it via tugging their shirts or giving them a piece of his mind.
His reputation for simulation hasn’t exactly helped his cause either and it all perhaps plays on the minds of voters when they nominate their top three players for the Ballon d’Or each year.
By all accounts, he could be a gem of a human being but on the pitch he turns into a competitive beast.
Playing in a team stacked with talent
It has to be extremely hard for anyone to stand out in a team that has Messi and Neymar as well as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, Andres Iniesta.
Nevertheless, Suarez has more than held his own in their elite company and finished as his club’s top scorer last season. But the general perception of him being a lesser talent than Messi and Neymar will be a hard thing to let go off for the voters.
Lack of success with the national team
Since their fourth place finish at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and then the subsequent triumph at the 2011 Copa America, the Uruguay national team haven’t hit the same heights.
They were unable to make significant inroads at both the 2015 and the 2016 Copa Americas, while crashing out of the 2014 World Cup at the round of 16 stage. Suarez didn’t help his cause in Brazil as his biting of Giorgio Chiellini led to his suspension from the World Cup and he missed out on that round of 16 match against Colombia. He was injured during the 2016 Copa America.
Success with the national team will definitely help Suarez’s cause in his Ballon d’Or pursuit.