Former Inter and Barcelona star Luis Suárez Miramontes has passed away. The so-called “Golden Galician” who is the only Spanish man to win soccer’s most prestigious individual award, the Ballon d’Or, has died, according to former club Inter Milan. He was 88.
Inter did not indicate the cause of Suárez’s death when announcing his passing on Sunday.
Born in the northwest Spanish region of Galicia, the midfielder won the bulk of his trophies in Italy with Inter, including the European Cup in 1964 and 1965 and three Italian league titles. Suárez moved to Inter from Barcelona after winning two Spanish league titles.
“Sadly his greatest and most successful period came when he was no longer a Barca player,” Barcelona’s website noted.
Suárez won the Ballon d’Or in 1960 and was runner-up in 1961 and 1964. He played on Spain’s team that won the 1964 European Championship, its first major title.
After retiring in 1973, Suárez had three spells coaching Inter. He also managed Spain’s national side from 1988-91.
Suárez downplayed his Ballon d’Or, a trophy that eluded subsequent Spanish superstars including Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Raul Gonzalez.
So much depends on the era you find yourself living in,” Suárez told FIFA’s website. “You need the slice of luck that comes when another great player of your time doesn’t perform quite so well. There have been truly great players who have never won that award. It’s not that big a deal.”
Affectionately known as ‘Luisito’, he is considered one of the best players in Spanish football history, and he played a key role for Barça during the second half of the 1950s.
Suárez earned 32 caps between 1957 and 1972, which included winning the European Cup with Spain in 1964. He coached the national side at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, before later joining the Inter Milan coaching staff.
April 2015 saw a very special donation to the FC Barcelona Museum – no less than the 1960 Ballon D’Or, presented by Luis Suárez Miramontes himself. The former player was featured in the ‘IN MY OWN WORDS’ series of articles published in the FC Barcelona website in September 2019, during which he discussed his time as a player for the Club.