Luis Suarez receives Golden Shoe trophy from former Liverpool FC boss Kenny Dalglish
Ex-Reds striker thanks Anfield team-mates for helping him land goalscorer award
Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has been presented with the Golden Shoe trophy by his former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish at a ceremony in the Spanish city.
Suarez receives the award having finished last season - along with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo - as scorer of the most league goals in Europe.
The pair each netted 31 times, Suarez’s goals being notched for Liverpool before his summer switch to Barca.
The 27-year-old Uruguay international said on receiving the trophy from Dalglish, who he reportedly had specifically requested be involved in the ceremony: “I want to thank all the most important people in my life, my wife and my children.
“And of course everyone at Liverpool - all my colleagues, not just last year but over the whole three and a half years I was at the club.
“They were spectacular years and it was thanks to this man here (Dalglish) that they signed me, that they noticed me.
“Now I am moving on to a new period, and I have to enjoy this next stage of my life - it is a dream come true.”
Earlier this week, Suarez suggested Liverpool would never have mounted their unexpected Barclays Premier League title challenge last season - which ended with them finishing second - without him.
But at Wednesday’s ceremony the controversial frontman appeared particularly keen to pay tribute to those he had played with during his stint with the Reds.
“On a personal and individual level it is always welcome to win these titles,” Suarez said.
“But you would not win them if it was not for the whole of the team and for your colleagues and for the joint effort that everyone makes every day to achieve results.”
A message from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was played during the event in which the midfielder had nothing but kind words for his former team-mate Suarez.
“Huge congratulations from myself, Luis’ ex-team-mates and everyone connected to Liverpool Football Club,” the midfielder said.
“This is a very special award and it is thoroughly deserved. You were unbelievable all season for us, a magical player, and Barcelona are very lucky to have your services moving forward.
“I’m sure there are many more individual awards to come. Good luck for the future mate, we miss you very much.”
Meanwhile, when Dalglish was asked how he thinks Suarez will fare at Barcelona, the Scot said: “I don’t think there will be anybody who will be able to stop him.
“He has been fantastic everywhere he has been - a huge success and fabulously entertaining. There is no reason why he won’t continue that for Barcelona.
“But if he does hit a problem, I’m sure we can take him back on loan!”
Dalglish signed Suarez for Liverpool in January 2011 and there has rarely been a dull moment in the player’s career since then.
In 2011-12 he helped the Reds win the League Cup but, perhaps more memorably, was also found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and had to serve an eight-match suspension.
In the following season - under the management of Dalglish’s successor Brendan Rodgers - Suarez scored 30 goals in all competitions for the Merseysiders but again got himself into trouble towards the end of the campaign when he bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
That resulted in a 10-game ban which stretched into 2013-14 - a season that saw him score even more goals, almost help Liverpool become English league champions, and claim both the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association player of the year awards.
Controversy was not far away, though, and during the World Cup over the summer Suarez sank his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini - the third offence of that nature in the Uruguayan’s career - and was hit with a four-month suspension.
He subsequently joined Barcelona and is set to make his competitive comeback from his latest ban next week when the Catalans take on Real Madrid in a Bernabeu El Clasico.
And Suarez has emphasised he is fit and raring to go for the game after featuring in two friendlies for his country over the past few days.
Asked if he was 100 per cent ready for the Real match, he said: “If you had asked me that a week ago, before the two games with Uruguay, I may have had doubts.
“But I have played in those two games and I am probably in better condition than I thought I was. So I think I can say now, yes, 100 per cent, I am ready to play.”