When Luis Suárez scored AFC Ajax's fifth goal in the 5-1 victory over Feyenoord on Sunday, the penalty was the forward's 16th league goal of what is shaping up to be a potentially record-breaking season for the Uruguayan international.
What is all the more impressive is the time it has taken Suárez to reach the total – 12 matches. If he were to continue scoring at such a rate he would end up with 45 goals for the UEFA Europa League contenders and eclipse the long-standing Eredivisie record of Coen Dillen, who struck 43 times for PSV Eindhoven in 1956/57. After a season with FC Groningen in 2006/07, he joined Ajax for around €8m that summer − filling the void created by the departure of Ryan Babel to Liverpool FC − and in his first two campaigns struck 39 times in 64 appearances.
Goals, however, are not the only thing Suárez contributes as the South American's Eredivisie-leading seven assists also show. At the heart of much of Ajax's attacking play, El Pistolero started the season in a central role until the arrival of Marko Pantelić resulted in him playing wide in a 4-3-3 or as a second striker in a traditional 4-4-2.
His coach, Martin Jol, recognised the importance of Suárez earlier this season by making him captain and has been delighted with how the No16 has handled the responsibility. "He's been fantastic this year," said Jol, whose side visit NK Dinamo Zagreb in Group A this evening. "Last year he was already fantastic, but now he has taken on additional responsibility before matches, making speeches to the squad. He is a real capitano."
His performances have reportedly attracted interest from some of Europe's top clubs but, for now, Suárez is more than happy in the Dutch capital. "Ajax are more than Luis Suárez alone," said the forward, whose goals have brought Ajax to within three points of the Eredivisie summit. "I think my team-mates are often sold short. In a team everyone makes their contribution and my job is to score goals and make assists. When people say that a transfer may happen during the winter or an injury will mean an end to our championship aspirations, I think that is disrespectful.
"I have said many times already that I will certainly finish this season at Ajax and that I am open to talks about a contract extension," continued Suárez, who is under contract until 2012. "I am happy in Amsterdam, feel at home with Ajax and want to be important for the club."
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