Luis Suarez is the third-most-valuable footballer in the world right now but sits way behind the mammoth sum that would be needed to land Lionel Messi, according to a study produced by the CIES Football Observatory.
As reported by Nick Harris of the Daily Mail, the aforementioned's annual view—which takes into account thousands of transfers from across Europe's top five divisions—has produced a number of interesting market valuations:
A huge range of information is considered for each player to produce a ‘real world’ price tag of what each star should objectively be worth in the transfer market this summer. Age, the length of contract remaining, position, performance data, international experience and the level at which the players are working are all considered.
The top-20 list can be seen below:
|20 Most Valuable Players in Europe During Summer 2014|
|Position||Name||Club||Price Range From (£m)||Price Range To...(£m)|
|17=||Wayne Rooney||Manchester United||29.6||34.4|
|17=||Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich||29.6||34.4|
|13||Sergio Aguero||Manchester City||36.5||42.4|
|11||Diego Costa||Atletico Madrid||37.8||44.0|
|10||Mario Gotze||Bayern Munich||37.9||44.0|
|9||Edinson Cavani||Paris Saint-Germain||38.7||45.0|
|7||Gareth Bale||Reak Madrid||47.1||54.7|
|2||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||85.2||99.1|
|CIES Football Observatory, via the Daily Mail.|
Suarez's remarkable campaign, which saw him notch 31 goals in the Premier League, has thrust him toward a valuation that maxes out at £92.3 million. When Brendan Rodgers indicated Suarez is "certainly heading toward" the £100 million mark in March, as reported by Derick Allsop of the Mirror, he wasn't fibbing.
The striker's relatively new contract also ensures a potential transfer could set a new world-record fee, but the Uruguayan is still some way behind both Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, the latter of whom dwarfs all other valuations on the list.
If CIES' numbers were to be taken as gospel, elite clubs would be able to purchase both Suarez and Ronaldo for just £3.1 million more than landing Messi, at minimum valuation.
The Barcelona star's recent performances may have drawn criticism from some areas of the Spanish press—galvanised by the Blaugrana's trophyless year—but he still racked up 36 goals and 11 assists in 38 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League, per WhoScored.com. Messi's new contract was signed in May, per BBC Sport, ensuring his value remains ridiculously huge.
As noted by Harris, the author of the report indicated another reason why Messi's numbers come in much higher than those below him:
This is mainly related to the younger age of the Argentinian prodigy, who was born 28 months after the Portuguese superstar. However, with respect to the last year, Messi's market value has gone down (by €19m) while that of Ronaldo increased (by €4m).
Suarez's position just behind the top two marks an incredible turnaround for the player who received widespread criticism after a dramatic 2012-13 campaign. He's moved on from biting Branislav Ivanovic and various diving claims to show himself as a world-class footballer.
It has been a conscious attitude shift, according to Suarez himself, as reported in Sports Illustrated (via David Kent of the Daily Mail):
I want to change the bad boy image that has stuck for a bit because I don't think I am at all how I have been portrayed.
[...] I think I (have) been a role model since last summer; I have been professional, and I have the desire to forge ahead and play well regardless of what is said to me.
The reformed player has a chance to add to his reputation at the upcoming World Cup. His performance during the 2010 tournament was marred with controversy when the Uruguayan deliberately handled a shot off the line, before celebrating when seeing Asamoah Gyan's penalty kick missed for Ghana. Suarez was rightfully red-carded, but in Brazil, he should be considered among the favourites for the Golden Boot.
At 27 years old Suarez is unlikely to ever catch Messi's valuation in this study. Ronaldo will be 30 by the end of next season, suggesting another solid campaign could see the Liverpool man move up an extra place, especially if the Reds excel upon their return to the Champions League.
Right now, Suarez's spot just behind the two greats neatly sums up a year in which his talents have finally outshone an often over-the-mark attitude.