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World Cup Player Profile: Luis Suárez

Always a controversial figure, Luis Suárez will still be a major factor in Uruguay's World Cup chances once he returns from injury.

Friedemann Vogel

One of the most controversial names in football is Luis Suárez. At any given moment during a match, he could do something amazing or he could do something insane. He's simultaneously one of the most fascinating and frustrating players to watch, and a lot of it all depends on your point of view.

Because of his immense talents, though, he's Uruguay's biggest star, a key part of three international tournaments, including their huge Copa America win in 2011. Suárez is one of the best players in the world, and when he steps on the pitch, he will make a huge impact not just on Uruguay's matches, but potentially on the World Cup as a whole.

Caps: 77, Goals: 38
Group D

Luis Suárez

Service for Uruguay: Since making his senior squad debut in 2007, Suárez has been one of Uruguay's best and most trusted internationals, scoring at a rate of roughly a goal every other match. It's an impressive rate for international football, and it's no surprise that he wears the coveted number nine shirt for his country.

With the way the Uruguay squad is set up these days, Suárez also serves as the creative nexus of the squad, dropping deep to link between the midfield and Edinson Cavani. It doesn't always work as smoothly as intended, but that's hardly the fault of Suárez, who runs himself down to the bone every time he's in the side.

What makes him interesting: Most everyone focuses on the controversy, and that's a perfectly understandable thing to do. There's been several on-pitch incidents involving Suárez, including two cases of biting an opposing player during a match. That's just bizarre, to put it mildly. The lasting memory of Suárez in the last World Cup isn't of his three goals and three assists during the tournament, but of his blatant handball denying Ghana a winning goal late in extra time.

The other side of the Luis Suárez coin, though, is a brilliant footballer. While he doesn't have a commanding physical presence, his dynamic abilities with the ball, both in terms of direct attack and creation for his teammates. He's equally capable of a sublime strike from anywhere on the pitch as he is in dropping a perfect through ball for a teammate to score with, and his presence on the pitch demands attention from defenders and spectators alike.

What to expect in Brazil: Suárez will miss at least the first match due to a knee injury that required surgery a couple weeks ago, but he's expected to be back for the third match of the group stage, against Italy, with the potential to be ready as soon as the match against England. That should be quite the event if he is, because the English media loooooooves Suárez.

Once he gets on the pitch, though, expect Suárez to do everything he can to haul Uruguay as deep in the tournament as he can, by himself if he has to. As far as tangible production goes, expect to see Suárez score a spectacular goal or two, make a few defenders look silly, and be involved in a massively dramatic moment for good or ill. It wouldn't be an international tournament involving Uruguay if anything else happens.

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