Liverpool are on the verge of signing Uruguayan superstar Darwin Nunez from Portuguese side Benfica. LFCTR take a look into the inspirational journey Nunez has made to one of the greatest football clubs in the world.
Darwin Nunez and his family lived in the poorest part of a place called Artigas. A city that lies just on the border of neighboring country Brazil and is the furthest from Uruguayan capital Montevideo.
His father worked as a construction worker, whilst his mother would collect and sell plastic bottles, in order to make sure food is put on the table for Darwin and his brother. At times, they would go to bed on an empty stomach, but his mother would put her boys before herself if there weren’t enough food.
Other than the lack of money and food, Darwin and his family regularly had to deal with floods due to heavy rainfall, damaging properties throughout the whole city.
Both Darwin and his brother used to train football just after school every day and managed to play for Peñarol youth side in Montevideo, miles away from their home. Football was not just a hobby for both of them, it became the opportunity for their lives to change.
That opportunity became reality when Junior Nunez (Darwin’s brother) made a huge gesture and decided to go back to Artigas to work full-time, so he could look after their mother and father. He told Darwin to stay with Peñarol to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Darwin has never forgotten the sacrifice his brother made for him, calling him his ‘hero’ after the selfless action he took. Eventually, Darwin got to repay his brother and parents for all their hard work from him, by moving them all to Montevideo, with help from his agent from him.
The Uruguayan striker settled well in the capital and was making his way through the footballing ladder. However, he hit another hurdle when playing in the third division. Darwin suffered a torn ACL, which put him out for months. It was his brother, Junior, who once again got him through the tough moment in his career.
Liverpool-bound Nunez worked hard to get back to fitness, which did not go unnoticed by Peñarol’s manager, who was impressed with the effort he put in. So much so, that he gave him a chance in the first team.
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Darwin played through pain for some time and had to ask doctors for help to ease the pain, so he could carry on playing. The Benfica forward came on as a substitute for his debut against rivals River Plate but ended up injuring his knee again, leaving the pitch in tears. This setback put Nunez out for a while and he had to receive surgery.
This was an important time in Nunez’s career, who felt his career may be over and it was time to quit. However, he was not going to be stopped and he battled through like he had done all his life of him.
Darwin came back and continued to impress, earning him a call-up to the U20 national side. This is where he got his big break, after being scouted by European sides. Spanish club Almeria made their move for the striker in 2019, paying Peñarol €6m for the transfer.
Despite not getting promoted with Almeria, Darwin Nunez caught the eye of European giants Benfica. The Portuguese side bought him for a club-record (at the time) €24m. Such an unthinkable move just a few years ago.
His first season with Benfica was a tough one, but Nunez being Nunez was determined as ever to become the best. In 2019, he made his debut for Uruguay’s first team, in a season where he became the best player in the league alongside future Liverpool teammate Luis Diaz.
At the end of the journey to the top for Darwin Nunez is his record-breaking move to Liverpool. After finishing top goalscorer in the Portuguese league, Nunez is now about to join one of the biggest clubs in the world. An incredible and inspirational journey so far, but there is more to come.
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