The striker was also previously the world’s most expensive player when Inter paid the equivalent of €166,000 to sign him from Barcelona in 1961, becoming the first Spaniard to play in Serie A.
Construction of the Camp Nou, completed in 1957, left Barcelona with little money to spend on new players at the time, so the world-record sale of Suarez was an important boost.
Suarez began his senior career at local club Deportivo La Coruna as a teenager in the early 1950s. He then joined Barcelona at the age of 19, initially spending a season in the reserve team before becoming a regular in the golden team from 1955.
Although he won more trophies with Inter following his transfer in 1961, Suarez won the Ballon d’Or for his achievements with Barcelona in 1960. The club won La Liga for the second consecutive year ahead of European Cup champions Real Madrid and lifted the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, an early precursor to the Europa League and a competition that was of a higher quality than today, in a period when only one club from each country was accepted into the European Cup.
After moving to Italy, Suarez was reunited with former Barcelona boss Helenio Herrera, one of the first superstar managers who led Inter to Serie A titles in 1963, 1965 and 1966, as well as European Cup success in the 1964 and 1964 seasons. 1965 .The Nerazzurri also won the Intercontinental Cup in both years, defeating Argentine giants Independiente twice.
Herrera was known as an advocate of the catenaccio defensive tactic, but he preached to his players: “If you don’t know what to do, give the ball to Suarez.”
With Spain, Suarez was a European Championship winner in 1964, which proved to be the country’s last international silverware until a new golden generation won Euro 2008. That year he was runner-up for the Ballon d’Or after finishing second in 1961 and later placed third in 1965 to emphasize his status as one of the best players in the world in the early years of the decade.
Suarez remained at Inter until 1970 before ending his playing career with a brief stint at Sampdoria before retiring three years later. He remained close to Inter, serving as head coach for three spells during the 1970s and 1990s, his last temporary stint. He was also present when Inter unveiled Ronaldo in 1997 following his world record move from Barcelona.
Other coaching jobs in Italy included Cagliari, SPAL and Como, with Suarez then spending an extended period back home in Spain, first at boyhood club Deportivo and then for eight years as Spain Under-21 boss before the senior national team at the 1990 World Cup. Cup.