The man who signed the Uruguayan for Groningen as a 19-year-old in 2006 believes the controversial Liverpool striker’s character is influenced by his South American upbringing
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been accused of having the mentality of a child by former boss Henk Veldmate, the man who brought him to Europe.
The 56-year-old signed the then 19-year-old for Eredivisie outfit Groningen in 2006 before his subsequent moves to Ajax and Liverpool.
Veldmate, now Groningen’s sporting director, says Suarez has always adopted the mentality of a child on the pitch and attributes it to his South American upbringing.
“He’s a grown up person but also, in the way he likes playing football, he sometimes has the mentality of a child,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“That’s the way he enjoys playing. If you compare the mentality and attitude to Dutch players, then in South America it’s dead or alive.
“To do the best for your family – it’s a way of life and a way of surviving.”
Despite those issues, Veldmate says it took him only 15 minutes to decide that he had to sign Suarez from Uruguayan side Nacional.
“He had everything you see today – he scored a goal and did some fantastic dribbles,” Veldmate added.
“Sometimes you think he is lucky with his dribbles – he starts something and you think it is impossible but in the end it works and he creates a chance and scores a goal.
“He dived to win a penalty, so all the things we see in Luis’ potential we saw in that 15 minutes and most importantly we saw he was a winner.”