There can be little doubt that Humberto Suazo has been one of the best-known players on the Latin American football scene in recent years, thanks to scoring feats such as his chart-topping ten-goal haul in South American qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. And though at first glance Suazo does not look like a typical No9, his keen positional sense, cool head and ability to finish with either foot have helped him to over 150 goals at club level.
Nor did the San Antonio-born striker enjoy an easy route to the top, having nearly been driven to give up the game in frustration very early in his career following a series of rejections by big clubs. After taking his first steps on the footballing ladder at Nublense in 2000, Suazo passed through modest outfits Magallanes, San Antonio Unido and San Luis, where his exploits in finishing top of the Chilean third-division scorers’ charts earned him his big break at Audax Italiano.
Prolific at Audax, domestic heavyweights Colo Colo swooped in 2006, with Suazo going on to hit a staggering 51 goals in that calendar year – a record for a Chilean player. El Chupete topped the goalscorers’ standings in three competitions while at El Cacique, including the 2006 Copa Sudamericana, before a 2007 switch to Monterrey of Mexico. There he top-scored in the Clausura 2008 and helped his team win the Apertura 2009, the same year he was voted best player in the Mexican league.
Handed his senior international debut by former Chile boss Juvenal Olmos in 2005, Suazo shone in his country’s colours at the 2007 Copa America. He is currently an undisputed first-choice for La Roja under Argentinian coach Marcelo ‘El Loco’ Bielsa, and continues to combine successfully with Matias Fernandez, Alexis Sanchez, Jorge Valdivia and Arturo Vidal, all former team-mates during his lethal stay at Colo Colo.
A key figure in Real Zaragoza’s successful fight against relegation from Spain’s top flight since joining in January, could the moment be ripe for Suazo to cement his place as one of South America’s finest goalscorers at South Africa 2010?