Atletico maintained their four goal lead over the La Liga leaders through a goal from Suarez in the 54th minute. In the 29th minute, he popped up in front of the Devils’ Kieran Trippier and tapped a header past Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pachecho. Jan Oblak saved a penalty in the closing minutes, allowing Suarez to score his 19th goal of the season. Hit made the difference in the 2020-21 season.
In 28 games played, the only player to surpass Suarez in La Liga is his former FC Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, who scored 23 goals after hitting the net twice against Real Sociedad on the same day.
Along with Messi, the 34-year-old Uruguayan is one of only five active players to have scored a total of 500 goals in their national and international careers, joining a host of illustrious names on the list.
All active players with 500 goals for club and country
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (36): 770 goals in his career.
2. Lionel Messi (33): 732 goals
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (39): 564 goals
4. Robert Lewandowski (32): 516 goals
5. Luis Suarez (34): 500 doors
5⃣0⃣0⃣ CAREER GOALS! @LuisSuarez9 remains decisive….
❤️ @atletienglish pic.twitter.com/2HsexcT5I7
– LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) March 22, 2021
Suarez has scored 19 goals in 31 appearances for Atletico this season since coming to Barcelona for free in September. However, Barca could earn up to €6m depending on a number of performance related variables, so that’s something.
Before he was deemed expendable, the Uruguayan scored 198 goals in six seasons at Barca, from 2014 to 2020. He joins Messi and Ronaldo as the only players in the last decade to win the Piccici award as La Liga’s top scorer, scoring 40 goals in the 2015/16 season.
He previously scored 82 goals for Liverpool (2011-14), 111 for Ajax (2007-10), 15 for Groningen (2006-07) and 12 for the national team (2005-06) in his first season as a senior. Some of Suarez’s former and current clubs have congratulated him on his 500 number.
@LuisSuarez9 scored his 5th flight⃣0⃣ in his sports career. ¡Histórico!
⚪ #AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/TkLQ0ITT3n
– Atletico Madrid (@Atleti) 21. March 2021
El Pistolero – 5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ Career Goals
What an achievement! Congratulations @LuisSuarez9 ⚽️♥️ pic.twitter.com/IvlxM83H6j
– Ajax AFC (@AFCAjax) 22 March 2021
El máximo goleador Uruguayo in la historia del fútbol nació en la #CanteraInagotable van @Nacional.
ARE 500 GOLF OFFICIALS CONNECTED IN URUGUAYO FUTBOL, VISIT CAMISETU Tricolor, AND THE SEAGEN DANDO VUELTA AL-MUNDO. ⚪️#Suárez500 pic.twitter.com/H9iCKpDsRU
– National (@Nacional) March 21, 2021
Neymar, who along with Suarez and Messi formed Barcelona’s famous MSN striker trio, praised his brother on Instagram. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard also shared this photo of Suarez as a tribute to his former teammate.
Suarez is also the Uruguayan men’s top scorer, with 63 goals in just 116 games for La Celeste, and the country’s football federation paid tribute to their hero in a video.
Uruguay’s best goleador has reached 5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ goles in his career. ⚽
How are you seeing the 63s, what are you doing on Celeste?
RT successful 9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/buL1WCRpPT
– Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) 21 March 2021
Suarez himself took the opportunity by promising to donate 500 footballs to youth clubs in each of the cities where he played during his career. He said: I wanted to give something back to the seven teams that shaped me as a player. I wanted to give a boost to youth teams that need support and equipment to encourage them to pursue their dreams.
The veteran striker also posted a message on social media thanking everyone who made his transfer from Montevideo to Madrid possible. Liverpool, in particular, deserves a special mention. Suarez recalled that his time at Anfield was one of the most important periods of his career.
Liverpool was special. The connection with the fans made me accept the challenge of playing in such a competitive league, he said in a message published in Spanish, English and Dutch.
500 goals and many more memories.
From Montevideo to Madrid, thanks @pumafootball pic.twitter.com/4XY2xoF6
– Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) March 22, 2021
However, the warmest message was for his wife Sophia, who received a touching tribute from her husband on her Instagram story.
Given that I scored the first goal when I was 18 and the old man scored 500 when he was 34, Suarez wrote. I love you more every day for what you mean to me, my queen.
Sophia had already sent him a message on behalf of herself and her children, saying: How great is it to see you reach your goals…. how great it is to be there to support you in good times and bad, and so much more! WE LOVE YOU FOREVER…
Suarez may have the reputation of being a pushy, cantankerous troublemaker on the pitch, but under the surface he just seems like a big softie.