BERLIN (AFP) - Luis Suarez completed an amazing comeback from his World Cup biting shame by scoring the decisive goal in Barcelona's Champions League triumph on Saturday.
The Uruguayan described the feeling as "incredible", while Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said Suarez had overcome club doubts when it paid more than €100 million (S$ million) for the scorer with a track record of hot-headed controversy.
The 28-year-old Suarez overshadowed superstar Lionel Messi to become the hero of the 3-1 win over Juventus at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.
Ending a Juventus fightback, the Uruguayan picked up on Gianluigi Buffon's reflex save from a Messi shot in the 68th minute to fire the ball in the net, leap over an advertising board and dance for joy.
"It's incredible, it's something unique. To win these trophies you have to suffer," he said.
"After the equaliser, they pushed on a little more, but we have players who made the difference. We have gone from game-to-game and achieved all our objectives.
"The best thing about this side is the spirit and the fact we've been united since the start of the season."
Suarez had to serve a four-month ban after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil last year, the third time he had bitten an opponent in his controversial career.
Chiellini is normally a rock of the Juventus defence but his injury in training last week ruled out a rematch with Suarez.
He had already forgiven Suarez, however. And Suarez's goals this season have made fans all but forget the bite on Chiellini's shoulder.
"When we thought about Luis Suarez and considered him to strengthen the team, we knew of his great quality and his tremendous goal-scoring figures, but of course we had our doubts," said Enrique after the Champions League win.
"We didn't know whether he'd adapt to our team and footballing philosophy.
"I think his goal-scoring figures and the way he has played after the suspension has shown that he is one of the best players we have signed this season.
"It was a good decision to trust him, we paid a lot of money for him, but he has tremendous hunger and wants to achieve lots of trophies and titles, which is what we have achieved together."
Transferred from Liverpool for a reported £75 million (S$ million), Suarez was only allowed to make his debut in October because of the four-month ban imposed by Fifa.
The start was disappointing as Barca were beaten 3-1 by eternal rivals Real Madrid.
It took seven games to get his first league goal in December, but Suarez still scored 25 goals in all competitions as Barcelona picked up a Champions League, La Liga title and Copa del Rey treble.
He even got his revenge on Madrid with the winner in the crucial El Clasico clash in the title race in March before netting his first hat-trick against lowly Cordoba last month.
With strike partners Messi and Neymar, he has been part of a formidable force which beat goalkeepers 122 times this season.
No wonder coach Enrique believes his side are "practically unstoppable" as long as Barcelona have the trio.
Another former Liverpool player in the Barcelona team, Javier Mascherano, also hailed Suarez's resilience after his humiliation.
"Here came here for this - to win," said Argentine midfielder Mascherano as he celebrated the Champions League triumph.
"He's a great player with a positive mentality.
"He is a good person, I very happy for him."