It wasn't long ago that superstar striker Luis Suarez seemed destined to leave Anfield at the soonest possible opportunity, but the Uruguayan sensation did an about-face on Dec. 20 as he inked a contract extension with the club, according to Liverpool FC's official website.
Per Eurosport.com's Twitter, the deal is five years in length and will make Suarez the highest-paid Reds player of all time:
BREAKING NEWS - Luis Suarez signs a new five-year contract at Liverpool, making him the highest-paid player in the club's history.— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) December 20, 2013
Tony Barrett of The Times (subscription required) is reporting that the contract will pay Suarez £170,000 per week this season and £200,000 per week thereafter.
"I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term," Suarez said.
John Richardson of Sunday Express provides more details, via 101GreatGoals.com:
Liverpool will have to grab a place in the Champions League to ensure Luis Suarez remains at Anfield despite the striker having signed a new mega contract.
[Suarez] has maintained his obsession to play Champions League football and insisted on a clause being inserted which allows him to leave if Brenadan Rodgers’ side fails to finish in the top four.
As Barrett pointed out, Liverpool deserve a ton of credit for securing Suarez when things initially looked so bleak:
Remarkable coup by FSG & Ian Ayre, who negotiated the deal, to get Suarez to commit after so much uncertainty about his future.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) December 20, 2013
Suarez added that he is confident a great deal of success is on the horizon for the Reds.
"We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time," he said, per the club's website. "I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible."
Is this a smart signing by Liverpool?
It's difficult to argue with Suarez's assessment, as Liverpool are currently second in the EPL standings, just two points behind Arsenal. This is a significant improvement from last season, when the Reds finished seventh and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Suarez's play has been the main catalyst behind Liverpool's resurgence. There were plenty of questions regarding whether he would even report to Anfield this season, but he did, and he has arguably developed into the top player in the world.
Some might argue that Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery are better, but Suarez's form is off the charts, as evidenced by the fact that he has scored 17 times and assisted on four additional goals in just 11 matches.
As difficult as it may be to believe, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers feels as though Suarez has yet to reach his ceiling, according to the team's website:
Luis is a world-class talent and securing his services is crucial for what we are trying to achieve here.
What's most important and most exciting is that, at just 26 years old, his best years are still ahead of him and we now know we'll be seeing him reach that potential in a Liverpool shirt.
The signing doesn't come without some concerns, though. Suarez has been temperamental on the pitch over the course of his Liverpool career. He was suspended eight matches in 2011 for allegedly racially abusing Manchester United star Patrice Evra and 10 matches this past season for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Despite all of that, Suarez seems worth the risk. He is a world-class player who has elevated Liverpool to another level, and the sky is the limit now that he is fully on board.
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