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Luis Suarez, 1960 Ballon d'Or winner and Barcelona legend, is dead

Luis Suarez, 1960 Ballon d'Or winner and Barcelona legend, is dead

Spanish football has lost one of its earliest icons. As announced by Inter Milan, Luis Suarez has passed away at the age of 88. The former international footballer played for Barcelona (1954-1961), Lombardy (1961-1970), and Sampdoria (1970-1973). Above all, he won the fourth edition of the Ballon d'Or (Europe's best player) in 1960. In addition to his class, speed, and showmanship, he had a strong character. He was the strategist behind the Spanish team that won the 1964 European Championship. He was a true football prodigy whose talent nowadays would undoubtedly have influenced the original betting accounts.

A legendary career

Luis Suarez Miramontes was born on May 2, 1935 in La Coruña. It was here that he began his football career, playing for various clubs in the city. In 1951, he was recruited by Deportivo La Coruña and, on December 6, 1953, made his debut in the Spanish Championship. In 1954, he joined F.C. Barcelona. Under the Catalan jersey, he would go on to achieve a host of feats until 1961. He was Spanish champion in 1959 and 1960, won the Spanish Cup in 1957 and 1959, and won the European Fairs Cup (forerunner of the U.E.F.A. Cup) in 1958 and 1960.

Unfortunately, he failed to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup with Barça. However, for the 1960-1961 edition, the hardest part seemed to be over: Real Madrid, winners of the first five editions, fell in the Round of 16. Their tormentor was F.C. Barcelona (2-2, 2-0); in the first leg in Madrid, Luis Suarez scored both his side's goals. Barça made it all the way to the final but lost 3-2 to Benfica Lisbon on May 31, 1961.

Luis Suarez left Barcelona and joined Inter Milan. With Inter, he was Italian champion in 1963, 1965, and 1966. He also won the European Cup: in 1964, against Real Madrid (3-1), then in 1965, against Benfica Lisbon (1-0). He left Inter in 1970 after 328 games with the Nerazzurri. Luis Suarez ended his football career in 1973 with Sampdoria Genoa.

Luis Suarez made his debut for Spain on January 30, 1957. For almost ten years, he was the Seleccion's playmaker (32 caps, 15 goals). The high point of his career with the national team came in 1964 when he won the European Championship. With two goals from Jesús Maria Pereda and Marcelino Martinez and one from Galimzian Khusainov, Spain beat the Soviet Union 2-1 in the final in Madrid.

After his playing career, Luis Suarez became a coach. In 1980, he joined the technical staff of the Spanish Football Association. His greatest success came in 1986, when the Spanish U-21 team, coached by Luis Suarez, won the European Championship at the expense of their Italian counterparts (1-2, 2-1, 3 penalties to 0). From 1988 to 1991, he was the coach of the Spanish national team. He then went on to coach Inter Milan, before taking up an advisory role with the Lombardy club in 1995.

Although not widely publicized, until the 2000s he was one of the Spanish players with the longest and most varied list of honors:

  • 639 games for 172 goals for all national teams combined
  • Ballon d'Or winner: 1960
  • Ballon d'Or runner-up: 1961 and 1964
  • Third position in the Ballon d'Or: 1965
  • Fourth position in the Ballon d'Or: 1959
  • European Championship of Nations Best Player: 1964
  • European Champion of Nations: 1964 (Spain).
  • European Champion Clubs' Cup: 1964 and 1965 (Inter Milan) (finalist in 1961 with FC Barcelona).
  • European Fairs Cup: 1958 and 1960 (FC Barcelona).
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1964 and 1965 (Inter Milan).
  • Spanish champion: 1959 and 1960 (FC Barcelona).
  • Italian champion: 1963, 1965, and 1966 (Inter Milan).
  • Spanish Cup: 1957 and 1959 (FC Barcelona).

With this impressive track many punters record, if he had played today, the media would have been saturated with videos of his actions and would have been attracted to register for an original betting account in order to bet on his genius.