Luis Suarez

This former Premier League defender was so relieved to see Luis Suarez’s back, he wanted to throw a celebration party.

The feeling came after the former Liverpool striker secured a move away to Barcelona in 2014. Ryan Shawcross, who was a Stoke City defender at the time, had always dreaded coming up against the terrier-like Uruguyan.

“[Luis Suarez is] the best player I ever played against by a country mile,” Shawcross, who now plays for David Beckham’s club Inter Miami in the US, told Stoke-on-Trent Live.

“We got a couple of clean sheets against Liverpool when Suarez was in their team but I just couldn’t work out how to stop him.

“I researched strikers before a game and I’d come up with a plan – and Suarez would just do something different.

“He used to drop to get the ball to feet so I would get right behind him up close… and he’d go behind. It’d be up in the air and I’d at least think that was my domain… and he’d win the header.

“I couldn’t come up with a formula. He had all the attributes and he had that aggression too. I used to like to give an opponent an early kick as a marker – but he’d get in there first and do it to me!

“Stoke fans would sing about him and I’d just be thinking: ‘Don’t wind him up! Please be nice to him!’

“I know he has done some daft stuff at times but for the majority, he was controlled, and making him angry would just make it even harder.

“He had all the facets and I was delighted when he moved to Barcelona. I was tempted to throw a party and invite all the other centre-backs in the Premier League,” Shawcross concluded.

Meanwhile, Suarez, who now plays his football for Atletico Madrid, will be back in England to face Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last 16 early next year.

“He used to drop to get the ball to feet so I would get right behind him up close… and he’d go behind. It’d be up in the air and I’d at least think that was my domain… and he’d win the header.

“I couldn’t come up with a formula. He had all the attributes and he had that aggression too. I used to like to give an opponent an early kick as a marker – but he’d get in there first and do it to me!

“Stoke fans would sing about him and I’d just be thinking: ‘Don’t wind him up! Please be nice to him!’

“I know he has done some daft stuff at times but for the majority, he was controlled, and making him angry would just make it even harder.

“He had all the facets and I was delighted when he moved to Barcelona. I was tempted to throw a party and invite all the other centre-backs in the Premier League,” Shawcross concluded.

Meanwhile, Suarez, who now plays his football for Atletico Madrid, will be back in England to face Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last 16 early next year.

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