Former Barcelona and Inter Milan midfielder Luis Suarez, the only Spanish-born male footballer to win the Ballon d’Or, died on Sunday at the age of 88.
Nicknamed ‘the architect’, the Spaniard won the prestigious award in 1960 and went on to coach La Roja at the 1990 World Cup.
“Luis Suarez Miramontes died this Sunday in Milan at the age of 88,” Barcelona said in a statement.
“He played for Barca between 1954 and 1961 before going to Inter Milan, where he is also a legend.”
Suarez became popular in Italy after becoming one of the league’s most popular midfielders at Inter Milan under manager Helenio Herrera in the 1960s, who followed him from Barcelona.
“Luisito’s passing leaves us with great sadness – the desire for his perfect and irresistible football, which has inspired generations, is linked to the memory of a unique player and a great Inter player,” Inter wrote in a statement.
Suarez, born in La Coruña in 1935, started his career at Deportivo La Coruña, before moving to Barcelona in 1954.
He won two La Liga titles with the Catalan giants, among other silverware and won the Ballon d’Or.
The only other Spanish-born player to win the Ballon d’Or is Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas, who won the women’s trophy twice.
Alfredo Di Stefano, who played for Argentina and later the Spanish national team, won twice but was born in Buenos Aires.
“Suarez was a great player, among the best Spaniards in history, along with Xavi (Hernandez) and (Andres) Iniesta,” Di Stefano said in one of his last interviews before his death in 2014.