Posts Tagged ‘ Luis Suarez Miramontes ’

MatchDay Memory: Luis Suarez Then and Now

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Imagine a time in the distant future when a player named Luis Enrique joins FC Barcelona or a new Hughes is signed by Manchester United. That player will inevitably be compared to their predecessor, with the shadow of former glory always hovering around the player. For Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014, not only was he not the first Luis Suarez to have played for the Blaugrana, but he will probably not be as successful in terms of trophies as his predecessor. On top of this, he also comes with his own unique baggage. I researched both players, looking at their acheivements and examining the impact of one and the future of the other.  The complete series can be found below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Comments appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

MatchDay Memory: Luis Suarez Then and Now Part III

Imagine a time in the distant future when a player named Luis Enrique joins FC Barcelona or a new Hughes is signed by Manchester United.  That player will inevitably be compared to their predecessor, with the shadow of former glory always hovering around the player.  For Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014, not only was he not the first Luis Suarez to have played for the Blaugrana, but he will probably not be as successful in terms of trophies as his predecessor.  On top of this, he also comes with his own unique baggage.

Part I  Luis Suarez Miramontes

Part II Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz

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In terms of perception, both on and off the field, it seems as if the players couldn’t be more different.  Miramontes was a scorer but also helped supply big time names around him, and similarly Diaz scored goals and created space and opportunities for those around him.  Miramontes’ trophy cabinet was bulging with club honors, but I noticed that Diaz has not won many honors with clubs he has played for.  Furthermore, teams continued to win without him, as Ajax has maintained their cycle of success without him and Nacional continued to win titles without him.  Liverpool is Liverpool and are an outlier.

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Off the field, I could find almost nothing on the original Luis Suarez, while the current namesake has a laundry list of controversial episodes.  Part of the reason for his move from Ajax to Liverpool was the seven game suspension he received for biting Otman Bakkal in an Eredivisie game.  Then a year later he was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra during an English Premier League game and missed eight league games.  Eighteen months after that, a ten game suspension followed for a biting incident against Branislav Ivanovic.  He came back from that and almost led Liverpool to the title before the 2014 World Cup.  That competition saw yet another bite, this time on Giorgio Chiellini of Italy, for which he was suspended worldwide for four months.

Despite a long list of offenses and despite FC Barcelona trying to occupy the moral high ground, the club went through with a transfer for the Uruguyan in the summer of 2014, concluding one of the most expensive deals of all time.  I was against the move on sporting and moral grounds.  From a sporting perspective, I didn’t see how he would fit into the team and there were greater needs that the club should have addressed, mainly in the defense.  They started to reshape the backline with Mathieu and Vermaelen coming in, but more work needed to be done. As for the attack, the club got rid of Sanchez, Cuenca, Bojan and Tello, and brought in Suarez and promoted Sandro and Munir.

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Barca’s problems last year were breaking down compact defenses.  With no service from the wings and a bunch of wonderfully gifted midgets trying to pass through nine and ten players, attack after attack broke down and actually set up counters for other teams.  Adding Suarez doesn’t help.  Suarez, Messi and Neymar.  All great players, but there’s only one ball.  I think Messi should be moved back out to the wing and an E’too replacement of the 2006-2009 vintage found.

Then there’s the morality aspect. This player has bitten at least three people.  He has racially abused an opponent.  He has received one of the harshest bans ever from FIFA for this latest incident at the World Cup.  Why is the club signing this guy?  Rob Brown on the Barca Blaugranes site for SB Nation reduces it to its simplest explanation: on the field success.

The current Luis Suarez has a lot to live up to when compared to El Arquitecto. Who knows what will happen on the field.  After reading Wright Thompson’s profile of Luis Suarez Diaz again, I have no idea if the Uruguayan will keep his teeth to himself.  And how will this highly talented player mesh with an astonishing array of attacking talent?  Whereas the Spanish Suarez became an orchestrating midfielder, a precursor to Xavi and Iniesta, El Pistolero will have find his way in an attacking group of Messi, Neymar and Pedro while pushing young, rising stars like Munir, Sandro and Adama and others to the bench or back to Barca B.

MatchDay Memory: Luis Suarez Then and Now Part I (Luis Suarez Miramontes)

Imagine a time in the distant future when a player named Luis Enrique joins FC Barcelona or a new Hughes is signed by Manchester United.  That player will inevitably be compared to their predecessor, with the shadow of former glory always hovering around the player.  For Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014, not only was he not the first Luis Suarez to have played for the Blaugrana, but he will probably not be as successful in terms of trophies as his predecessor.  On top of this, he also comes with his own unique baggage.

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I had heard of FCB legends like Samitier and Kubala and Cruyff and Maradona but knew almost nothing about the original Luis Suarez.  In researching Luis Suarez Miramontes (referred to as Lusito), I was stunned to learn of his accomplishments.  He started at Deportivo La Coruna before moving to FC Barcelona in 1955.  The squad had all the elements to prosper, with talented players like Kubala, Kocsis, Czibor, Evaristo, and Ramallets, and the arrival of manager Helenio Herrera created a cycle of success for the Blaugrana.  While the legendary Real Madrid of the 1950’s was winning five European Cups in a row, FC Barcelona found domestic success winning the 1957 Copa del Rey (then called the Generalissimo Cup) and back to back league titles in 1959 (Domestic Double) and 1960.  At the same time, the club found success on the continent, winning the Fairs Cup in 1958 and 1960.  Victory in the league allowed for entry into the European Cup, and in the 1960 edition, Barca lost to the mighty Real Madrid in the Semis.  But the Blaugrana eliminated their eternal rival in the first round of the 1961 competition before losing to Benfica in the Final.

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After the disappointment of the European Cup Final, Lusito was sold for a record transfer fee at the time to Inter, where he was reunited with Herrera and helped to create La Grande Inter.  At the new club, Il Mago changed Suarez’s role from goal scoring forward to deep-lying midfielder, and the Nerazzurri emerged from the shadow of their city rivals, winning three league titles, two European Cups and two Intercontinental Cups in an astonishing period from 1962-1966.  Suarez left Inter in 1970 and finished his career at Sampdoria, retiring in 1973.

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On the International front, Suarez appeared for Spain at the 1962 and 1966 World Cups, but La Roja did not progress out of the group in either competition. However La Selección won the 1964 European Championship on home soil, with Luisito a key component.  After defeating Hungary in the Semis, Spain faced off against the Soviet Union in the Final.  Kishen Patel summarized Lusito’s impact on the match:

Spain faced previous winners USSR in the final and once again Luis Suarez didn’t disappoint with his performance. A wise head among young players, Suarez was the eldest member of the Spanish squad. A sublime pass from Luisito found Jose Maria Pereda whose skillful finish left the “Black Spider” Yashin helpless. Spain were in the lead in the 6th minute in front of 100,000 spectators at the Bernabeu with General Francisco Franco among them. However, the Russian side equalised within two minutes of conceding and it took some heroics from Spanish goalkeeper Jose Angel Iribar to keep the scores level. Luis Suarez’s calming presence made the difference when he spread the play to the right and the ball was crossed in from there to find Marcelino Martinez who beat Yashin for the second time in the game with a headed effort. Spain clinched their first European Nation’s Cup on their home soil. Luis Suarez Miramontes’ ability to dictate play and orchestrate attacks highlighted him as the mastermind behind Spain’s victory.

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In addition to his medals for club and country, Suarez won the 1960 Ballon d’Or, putting him in the pantheon of the great players in the 50’s and 60’s.  Gemma Simolo wrote for Inside Spanish Football that Suárez had exquisite technique, possessed extraordinary footwork, unrivalled when it came to his inch-perfect passing, thrived with creativity, and scored impressive goals.

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A profile of the current Luis Suarez and a comparison of the two players will follow later this week.