Luis Suarez joined the 500-club with his latest goal for Atletico Madrid against Alaves at the weekend.
Suarez’ winner was his 500th professional goal and he marked the occasional with an emotional open letter on social media.
His message included a special nod to Liverpool, where he scored 82 of his goals between 2011 and 2014.
“And Liverpool? Liverpool was special,” Suarez wrote. “The connection with the fans inspired me to rise to the challenge of playing in such a competitive league.”
Suarez love affair with Anfield is clear – but his journey could have turned out very differently if not for a decisive chat with Steven Gerrard.
Back in 2013, Suarez came close to joining Arsenal and was, at one stage, determined to force through the move.
He blasted Liverpool for “breaking promises” that he would be allowed to leave if they did not secure a top four finish.
Club captain Gerrard intervened, pulling Suarez aside to discuss the situation.
Years later, Suarez told Otro : “We qualified for the UEFA Europa League but the season ended badly.
“I’m about to go to Arsenal, forcing myself to go, and Steven tells me ‘I promise that if you stay this year you’re going to take off and next year you’ll go to Bayern, Barcelona , Real Madrid or whichever one you want, but stay this year because you won’t be better off at Arsenal.’
“This was the last conversation I had with Gerrard at that moment and I told my agent that I had made my decision and I was staying.
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“His words convinced me in that moment. They came from a person who cared for me, who wanted my well-being, who saw me suffer during training and saw me sad.
“They were words from a true captain that had an impact in that moment and helped me a lot.”
Gerrard’s advice decided their future together at Anfield for another year, a year which almost delivered Premier League glory before late agony under Brendan Rodgers.
At the end of the season, Gerrard was proved right as Suarez got his move to Barcelona, where he scored 198 of his 500 career goals.
It was later reported that a furious Suarez branded Rodgers and Liverpool ‘liars’ in his chat with Gerrard, who was able to help keep him at the club another year.
It is clear the pair had a special relationship, and shows exactly what Gerrard could offer if he one day becomes Liverpool manager.
After guiding Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title, Gerrard is already being tipped to replace Jurgen Klopp when he leaves Anfield.
Suarez, meanwhile, has shown he still has plenty left to offer since moving to Atletico Madrid and has one more year left on his two-year contract.
Liverpool still holds a special place in the heart of the 34-year-old, and he has always left the door open to a return.
“You never know in football what the future holds but if I ever play in England again I will play for the Liverpool team and not another team,” said Suarez after an all-star charity match at Anfield in 2015.
“It’s great to come back to Anfield. Not just for the old players coming back but those who play now and for the supporters, for Stevie and the foundation – it was a special game.
“I’ve missed the fans. The atmosphere is unbelievable, it’s amazing. Everyone who’s played for Liverpool knows how important the supporters are. They know they are in my heart.”
Gerrard has decided Suarez’ future at Anfield once, if he one day takes over at Anfield, could he have chance to do it again for one last hurrah?
We’ll have to wait and see, and whilst it is highly unlikely, it would certainly be quite a story…