Port Elizabeth: Uruguayan hit-man Luis Suarez scored his side`s two goals against South Korea Saturday, joining the ranks of the World Cup`s top scorers and heralding his arrival among the elite of the world`s strikers.
Currently playing for Ajax Amsterdam, where he was the Dutch league`s top scorer and player of the year last season, he had been on the radar of Europe`s richest clubs even before his brace of goals Saturday sent his team through to the last eight of the World Cup.
Those goals are likely to increase his value substantially. The first showed him coolly finishing from an acute angle, while the second came when his team were under pressure after South Korea had equalized. He controlled the ball and sent an unstoppable curler in the far post from just inside the box.
After the game Suarez, 23, described that goal as the most important of his career, but shrugged of report naming him among the world`s elite.`It doesn`t really matter who scores the goals,` he said. `Because I`m a forward of course I try to get the ball in back of net. But most of all I think about my team and getting as far as we can in the tournament.`
Born in Salto, Uruguay Jan 24, 1987, he began his career in his home country with Club Nacional de Football, for whom he scored 12 goals in 29 appearances. At age 19 he signed for Dutch side.
Groningen in a deal that was worth around 800,000 euros (995,000 dollars). His 10 goals in 29 games brought him to the attention of some of Europe`s biggest clubs, and he signed for Ajax for a fee of 7.5 million euros in August 2007.
He was an immediate hit with the famous Dutch side, racking up 20 goals in his first season, and scoring 35 league goals in 33 games last season (49 in all competitions). His current tally for Ajax stands at 74 goals in 97 matches.
Ajax manager Martin Jol was quick to recognize his talent, naming him Ajax captain at the start of last season, at the age of just 22.
With that kind of pedigree it`s no surprise that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all been linked to the prolific striker. He has said his sights are high. `He will only leave us if the opportunity comes up to join one of Europe`s best teams,` said Jol.
Suarez is under contract to the Dutch giants until 2013 and insists he`s in no hurry to leave. `I`m enjoying myself at Ajax and I like living in Amsterdam. I have not renewed my contract for nothing. I am here to stay.`
Suarez made his international debut in February 2007 and was sent off in his first game. But coach Oscar Tabarez kept faith with him and has been amply rewarded by his 13 goals in 34 games for the national team.
Prior to Saturday`s late game at the World Cup, he is joint top scorer on three goals along with with Spain`s David Villa, Argentina`s Gonzalo Higuain and Robert Vittek of Slovakia.