Luis Suarez is number 34 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series
It sucks to have a common name. It sucks more to share a name with someone who's – with the best will in the world – more famous than you are.
Ask Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima.
It's this quirk of ill fortune that's left one of Spain's finest ever footballers as almost a footnote in conversation, a piece of trivia for the moderately informed; 'didn't you know there's another Luis Suarez, from back in the 60s?'
Yes, before the all-scoring, all-biting, all-racism-storm-inducing Uruguayan Luis Suarez of the 21st century there was Luis Suárez Miramontes – or to give him his modern name, 'Luis Suarez No Not That One'. Spanish. No recorded incidences of biting. Scored a lot. Mild to moderate racism implied (it was the 50s and 60s).
Not a striker like his South American namesake, Suarez – a fantastic passing midfielder from Galicia – remains the only Spanish-born winner of the Ballon d'Or. Relegated to trivia.
Recency bias is a hell of a thing, isn't it? The old Luis Suarez (and he's old as hell now, still kicking around in his mid 80s) was one of the very best footballers of all time; one of the crown jewels in Helenio Herrera's brilliant Barcelona team of the late 1950s before following Herrera to Inter and...getting better.
His debut season with La Blaugrana's first team ended with the Catalans a point off the title and nine points ahead of rivals Real Madrid, before consecutive third-place finishes in the following years. That third season of Suarez, the 1957/58 campaign, saw Barça move to Camp Nou from Las Corts, where they had played since their inception as a club 35 years previously.
While Suarez and László Kubala couldn't inaugurate the new stadium with silverware, the arrivals of Kubala's Hungarian compatriots Zoltán Czibor and Sándor Kocsis (28th in 90min's Top 50) in the summer of 1958 go them over the hump the following season.
Czibor, Kocsis and Kubala showed glimpses of the collective force they could be, but it was the playmaking ability of Suarez that drove the team – Justo Tejada and Evaristo scoring 19 and 20 league goals respectively as Barcelona scored at over three goals per game on their way to the first La Liga title at Camp Nou.
That title was one half of a league and Copa del Generalísimo double which signalled Barça's pre-eminence in Spain and Suarez's place among Europe's elite – a huge moment in the club's history, dominating the country's football season in the brand new biggest stadium in the world, despite the Franco regime still favouring 'his' team in the capital and Barça still playing under the Castilianised name 'Club de Fútbol Barcelona'.
That domination continued into a second term with a second league title and victory in the Fairs Cup, a run which earned Suarez the 1960 Ballon d'Or, making him just the second non-Real Madrid player to lift the trophy.
Even that win had an element of symbolism about it, Suarez taking the title from Alfredo Di Stéfano – a man who had dominated La Liga after a controversial transfer from South America, who had played a pre-season friendly for Barcelona before (conspiracy theorists will tell you) Franco's regime intervened in a murky legal situation to ensure he ended up playing at the Bernabeu (then the Nuevo Estadio Chamartín).
His last season in Catalunya was trophyless, unable to resist Bela Guttman's brilliant Benfica side in the European Cup final. New lands beckoned. Suarez went to Italy. Why? Well, Helenio Herrera was there.
Sitting deeper in Herrera's Inter side than he had at Barcelona, Suarez gave up his goalscoring exploits (61 in 122 La Liga games for Barça, no slouch) to dictate the play from the midfield. He was, it's not going too far to say, thoroughly magnificent. Catenaccio was, arguably, perfected by this team and helped immeasurably by the Spaniard's vision and range of passing; unlocking the abilities of Inter's flying full-backs overlapping the wingers.
Arguably, nothing less should have been expected of the man Inter had just made the most expensive footballer in the world – but that barely factors in Suarez's European revenge tour, beating his old rivals Real Madrid and Benfica in back to back European Cup finals in 1964 and 1965, claiming the title that had eluded him for the first decade of his career.
He arguably should've won his second Ballon d'Or in 1964, coming within a one-match playoff with Bologna of adding a second Serie A to his honours list alongside the European Cup and the 1964 European Championships (prestigious, albeit at that time a four-team tournament), which remained Spain's only international title for 44 years.
The next two seasons brought more success with Inter, but injury and the departure of his hunting partner Jair saw a third European Cup elude him in 1967. His career wound down from there – no trophies, a short spell at Sampdoria, half a decade without an international cap before a 'farewell' appearance in 1972 – El Arquitecto left football quietly and retired from the game completely.
Oh wait no, that's not true. He was managing Inter within a couple of years – something he did three times in a managerial career of around 25 years – and took Spain into the knockout rounds of the 1990 World Cup before going back to Inter as manager, then caretaker, and later a scout. The Architect indeed.
For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!
90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.
Number 50: Luka Modric
Number 49: John Charles
Number 48: Hugo Sanchez
Number 47: Jairzinho
Number 46: Omar Sivori
Number 45: Paolo Rossi
Number 44: Paul Breitner
Number 43: George Weah
Number 42: Kaka
Number 41: Lev Yashin
Number 40: Gunnar Nordahl
Number 39: Kevin Keegan
Number 38: Hristo Stoichkov
Number 37: Gianluigi Buffon
Number 36: Johan Neeskens
Number 35: Xavi Hernandez