Luis Suarez broke the duopoly of Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo on the Pichichi and ended with La Liga's most assists… next up is the Ballon d'Or

Luis Suarez started the season as he ended it – by being the difference for Barcelona.
Their first fixture in La Liga was a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao, courtesy of a Suarez strike. Their last was a 3-0 win over Granada, courtesy of a Suarez hat-trick.

Forty goals and 16 assists later, Barcelona beat Real Madrid to the title, and Suarez had successfully broken the duopoly between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in Spain.

Not since Diego Forlan in 2009 had Messi or Ronaldo been beaten to the Pichichi prize – Spain's top goalscorer – with the last six seasons all about one versus the other.
Yet 59 goals in 52 appearances for Suarez saw him sweep them aside, and the former Liverpool striker was there when needed as Barcelona’s headline act.

When Messi was injured, Suarez scored 10 goals in nine games.

When it looked like Barcelona were starting to slip in the title race, he scored 14 goals in five games. That led to five successive wins, and the title was theirs.

Barcelona were crowned champions above Real Madrid and Suarez’s 40 goals – one every 78.8 minutes on average and coming in just 137 shots – accounted for 15 points this season. Without him, they would be nowhere near.

He isn’t done, either.

On Sunday, Barcelona play Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, where Suarez can add to his near-60-goal total in his first full season as the Nou Camp club look to do the domestic double.

All this from a player who was not even nominated for the 2015 Ballon d’Or, which ended up being between Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar.

All this from a player who, towards the end of his four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, was told he had to lose weight.

Last season Suarez scored 25 and assisted 21 goals in all competitions, as he preferred to set up rather than shoot.

Yet this year, with scoring 59 and setting up 22, he’s been the player pulling the trigger.

In doing so it saw the stranglehold that Messi and Ronaldo had on Spanish football loosened.

So, is the Ballon d’Or next?

Only Messi and Ronaldo have won the award since 2008 – five for the former, three for the latter – and that’s barely been threatened, until now.

Last month Luis Suarez gave his Ballon d'Or to Barcelona's museum. This Luis Suarez, though, was the one born in 1935 and from Spain. Not the 29-year-old from Uruguay.

The 81-year-old was the first Barcelona player to win it in 1960 and, more than half a century later, he decided to give it back to the club where he scored 61 goals in 122 games in La Liga.

The Suarez of the modern day is on 56 goals in 50 fewer La Liga games than his namesake, and is showing himself to be at Messi and Ronaldo’s level.