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Luis Suárez has 26 goals in La Liga this season, good enough for second behind Leo Messi, who has 33. | MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Each FC Barcelona player is a small, dry twig in a pile of kindling. Leo Messi and Neymar are the tinder. Luis Suárez is the spark.

That’s because, with three games remaining in the 2016/17 La Liga, Suárez is tops in the first division in game-opening goals, having given Barça a 1–0 lead on nine occasions — the figure rises to 14 if you count non-league games too.

Here’s a look at those nine La Liga games in which Suárez was the first player from either team to score (Click on the opponent to see the highlights):

DATE OPPONENT MIN.
9.24.16 at Sporting 29
12.3.16 Real Madrid 53
12.10.16 at Osasuna 59
12.18.16 Espanyol 18
1.14.17  Las Palmas 14
2.11.17 at Alavés 37
4.2.17 at Granada 44
4.5.17 Sevilla 25
4.29.17 at Espanyol  50

Barça would go on to win eight of those games, with the only exception being a 1–1 draw versus Real Madrid at Camp Nou.

Suárez has also been Barça’s fire starter in non-league games:

DATE OPPONENT MIN. COMPETITION
8.14.16 at Sevilla 54 Spanish Super Cup
1.11.17 Athletic Club 35 Copa del Rey
2.1.17 at Atlético Madrid 7 Copa del Rey
2.7.17 Atlético Madrid 43 Copa del Rey
3.8.17 Paris Saint-Germain 3 Champions League

Suárez’s goal in the third minute against PSG, of course, set the stage for the biggest comeback in Champions League history, which saw Barça overturn a 4–0 first leg defeat with a 6–1 victory in the game at Camp Nou.

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