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Before the bite: 7 reasons Suarez is still wanted by Barcelona (Video)

It may be difficult, but forget the controversies that have plagued Luis Suarez's career. There's a reason why Barcelona want to sign the Liverpool No7 - he's one helluva footballer.

Before Barca made it clear they wanted the Uruguayan this summer, there was a growing and increasingly serious debate that Suarez was surpassing King Kenny Dalglish as Anfield's greatest No7.

Still scratching your head over why Barcelona would consider gambling on a character so volatile? Well, here's seven reasons to convince the skeptics that even at £77 million - signing Suarez will be money well spent:

 7) THREE HAT-TRICKS AGAINST NORWICH CITY December 4, 2013: Suarez hit a stunning four goals in Liverpool's 5-1 victory over Norwich City. The haul made him the first Premier League player to score three hat-tricks against the same team.

Canaries goalkeeper John Ruddy lamented: "He seems to save his best goals for me. You have to be aware of what he has done to us in the past. He can do it on a whim."

 6) REVENGE OVER ENGLAND June 19, 2014: Suarez stuns England with a superb two-goal performance as Uruguay defeat the Three Lions to end their World Cup dream before it has even started. The Liverpool striker was fresh from knee surgery, with many in Uruguay concerned he'd miss the entire tournament. But 'El Pistolero' (the Gunfighter), just as he had done with Liverpool throughout their Champions League qualifying campaign, threw himself into every 40:60 challenge, hitting two wonder goals in the process.

It drew the admiration of even his harshest critics, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho conceding afterwards: "I speak by myself when he dives and when he tries to get penalties out of nothing. I don't like the situation.

"But when he plays like he did many, many times this season for Liverpool, and when he plays like he did on Thursday, I have to say, absolutely amazing.

"The commitment, the connection with the players, the connection with his supporters. I have to say, amazing."

 5) LEAGUE CUP GLORYFebruary 26, 2012: The one trophy Suarez has won with Liverpool is the Carling Cup. While not getting on the scoresheet, Suarez had a big influence on the victory over Cardiff City at Wembley. The match finished 2-2 at the end of extra-time and the Reds won a tense penalty shootout 3-2. Trailing 1-0, it was Suarez's header, denied by the Cardiff crossbar, which was turned in by Martin Skrtel in the second-half and helped Liverpool get back into the game.

It was only Suarez's third piece of silverware he'd won after six years in Europe - having lifted the Dutch Cup with Ajax in 2010 and the league a year later.

 4) COPA AMERICA LIONS Copa América Argentina 2011: Suarez establishes himself as one of Uruguay's greatest ever as he fires his nation to Copa glory on Argentine soil. He finished the campaign as Player of the Tournament, scoring four goals - including getting on the scoresheet in the final against Paraguay.

In the semis, Suarez was outstanding, hitting both goals in victory over Peru and being named Man of the Match. He formed a lethal attacking partnership with former Manchester United striker and Uruguay captain Diego Forlan.

Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar said after the final: "It was fair that Uruguay are the champions because they are a very solid team and their attackers are two lions.

"They are among the best strikers in the world."

 3) OUT ON HIS OWN FOR URUGUAY June 23, 2013: Suarez is celebrated as Uruguay's greatest goalscorer as he scores twice in their Confederation Cup victory over Tahiti. Coming off the bench, Suarez fired two late strikes for his beloved La Celeste to reach 35 goals and become his nation's all-time leading goalscorer.

"I give my soul every time I step on the pitch. I have done this with Uruguay, Ajax and Liverpool. I do not hold anything when I finish a game," Suarez says on his approach to every game.

 2) SIGNING FOR LIVERPOOL January 31, 2011: Suarez signs for Liverpool from Ajax for a then club record £22.7 million. He pens a five-and-a-half year deal on the back of scoring 49 goals in 48 games for Ajax the previous season.

"It's a dream to be able to come and play here.

"Liverpool is a very famous club, the most famous club in England, and I watched Liverpool and English football as a boy."

Suarez admits his move was inspired by another controversial South American, Carlos Tevez, the fiery former Manchester City and United striker.

"I used to think that English football was not my style," he said. "But I saw Carlos Tevez play at Boca and Corinthians and I never imagined that he would play in the Premier League.

"When I see the way that Tevez plays there I think I can be a big name in England. It's because of the energy, and the spirit they put into the game in England. Now, I think it's a kind of football that suits me."

Suarez scores his first goal a month later against Stoke City, February 2, 2011.

 1) PERSONAL TRIPLE CROWN 2013/14 campaign: Last season was one of personal triumph for Suarez. He met the challenge from his manager, Brendan Rodgers, to fire Liverpool to Champions League qualification, finishing the campaign with both the European and Premier League Golden Boots. He shared the Euro gong with Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo.

He was celebrated by his biggest critics in the media, being named the Football Association Writers Player of the Year and also the respect of his peers after winning the PFA Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season.

Rodgers, before releasing his No7 to Uruguay's World Cup camp, declared: "He is a really intelligent man who fits the values of this club, which is all about humility, class and he has all of that. He is a sheer winner and that probably overspilled last year but his development over the last year has been remarkable both on and off the field and Liverpool have benefited from that. For me he is the consistently outstanding player over the course of the last year."

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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