Barcelona striker Luis Suarez may be one of the most well known soccer players on the planet. The Uruguayan’s infamous bite of an Italian player was seen and heard and felt during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And now Suarez just scored his first goal for his new club on the same day his new teammate, Lionel Messi, became the UEFA Champions League all-time scorer.
But, what you might not have heard about is the influence Suarez’ wife Sofia Balbi has had over his life in general. The journey the couple took to get to where they are today is quite simply the stuff of legend.
Suarez was once a street sweeper who grew up poor and reportedly saved up his hard-earned money just to have the chance to take the blonde middle-class Balbi on a date back in Montevideo, Uruguay–the place where the couple met.
From Uruguay to Groningen to Ajax in Amsterdam, and on to Liverpool before now playing for legendary Barcelona, Suarez has made headlines–not always good ones, mind you –for his stellar play on the field and his occasional on-the-field antics.
But, Balbi is and hopefully will always be the engine that drives him–along with his own drive to be the best soccer player in the world. Winner of the Golden Foot Award last year as Europe’s leading goal scorer, Suarez and his wife have two children, Delfina and Benjamin, the latter born less than two years ago.
To hear Suarez’ former coach Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool talk about Balbi, well, you get the impression she’s a pretty special lady. She’d have to be to handle someone with a temper like Suarez, right?
“She’s a great woman and offers him great stability in his life. She tells him straight and direct. She loves Liverpool, she loves the city, she loves the camaraderie with the other players’ wives,” Rodgers said. “So she’s a real pillar in his life. They’ve been together for a long time. Luis travelled across the world to find her again. It’s an incredible story.
“She left Uruguay and went to Barcelona with her parents. He wanted to move to Europe so he would have the chance to meet up with her again. When he went to Holland (to play for Ajax), he was only 17 and had gone to Groningen, he asked the coach for a few days off. On those days off, he traveled to (nearby) Barcelona to go and get her, to bring her back, and they’ve been together ever since.”
That’s right; Suarez’ wife is originally from Barcelona. Makes sense why Suarez would want to play for Barcelona, right?
As for Suarez, his relationship with Balbi has been a match made in heaven. For their sake and for the millions of Suarez fans around the globe, let’s hope their marriage continues. As for Suarez game, he’s picking up right where he left off in Brazil, having scored his first goal for Barcelona. With her behind her man all the way, you can count on many more goals and great moments to come from one of the world’s top strikers in a place where they can both be as happy as they can be.