Veteran Chivas USA and Mexican international defender Claudio Suarez considers himself a “simple soccer player” who initially was dead set against writing his autobiography.
But the classy Suarez, respected for his modest demeanor off the field and his commanding defensive presence on it, succumbed and the result is “Claudio Suarez: Portrait of a Warrior.”
“I really didn’t want to do this book,” he said. “This is a book about retirement already. Time passes by and we need to know when to say goodbye to futbol.”
(Suarez, 39, is likely playing his final season, but has left open the slim possibility he may return).
The book was launched at a press conference Saturday at Home Depot Center with Suarez’ wife, Irma, and their three children looking on and the likes of former teammate Ramon Ramirez and Chivas USA co-owner Antonio Cue paying tribute to “the Emperor.”
“He’s an ambassador for Mexico in all aspects,” said Cue. “This book is a reflection of many years of hard work.”
“He’s an example to everyone,” said Ramirez. “When Claudio was in the defense we felt safe. … He’s a great leader in everything he does in life.”
And in fact that was Suarez’ motivation for writing the book. He hopes others will draw inspiration from his journey from modest roots to a distinguished career that has seen him make more appearances for Mexico than any other player.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” he said of boiling down his life to 145 pages. “I feel emotional, nervous because I don’t know how well the book is going to do.”
Curiously, few Mexican soccer stars write their autobiographies. He hopes his example will prod the likes of Luis Hernandez or Ramon Ramirez to tell their own stories.
The paperback, large-size book is peppered with photographs he has provided (you want to see Suarez’ 1996 Olympic credential? It’s here), which makes for easy reading.
But don’t expect Suarez to rip former coaches or opposing players; this is intended to be an inspirational retelling of his long career.
Co-author Enrique Leon Candiani – a journalist for Mexican television and a Guadalajara newspaper who has followed Suarez’ entire career – said it required patience awaiting the shy Suarez to open up.
“I had to go through a process so I could gain Claudio’s confidence and trust – it took months,” he said. “My impression is that Claudio hadn’t discovered the importance of his image, his legacy and that is what I wanted to find out.”
The book officially goes on sale Sunday at the Chivas USA-Pachuca SuperLiga game at Home Depot Center concession stands and the Team LA store. The first 500 people to purchase the book at the game get into an autograph session afterward.
At the moment it’s only available in Spanish. An English-language version is in the works and will be released in about two months. I have an early copy though (even Claudio hadn’t seen one) so look for a review in the coming days.
The book is also available on-line here.