Inside the meteoric rise of Liverpool-bound Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez is set to be involved in one of the biggest transfers in the summer transfer window as he’s poised to join Liverpool. The Benfica striker has reportedly already agreed on personal terms with Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are willing to pay over €80m for his services.

Nunez is regarded as one of the brightest up-and-coming strikers in Europe. With 34 goals in all competitions last season, the Uruguayan striker turned many heads toward him. In the end, Liverpool won the battle to sign him and bolster their attacking force.

After completing the high-profile move to Anfield, Nunez will also get a major salary hike. He’ll receive a rumoured €6m-a-year salary at Liverpool and be among the highest-paid South American players in the Premier League.

But that is unlikely to change his humble nature.

The rags to riches story of soon-to-be Liverpool player Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez might be one of the most coveted strikers around now, but he didn’t always have it this easy in life. He came from a poor family and had a very challenging upbringing.

Nunez’s mother used to collect and sell plastic. His father was a construction worker. They were barely able to put food on the table for Nunez and his siblings.

There were times the Uruguayan striker even went hungry. Darwin even saw his mother going to sleep hungry and giving up her food to the children on occasions.

Nunez lived in an extremely poor area in Artigas (Uruguay) and in a small home. When it rained heavily, their home used to get flooded and they’d often lose their properties to it. Darwin and his brother started to play football at the youth level and used to do it every day after school.

They joined Penarol’s youth side and often had to travel miles from their home for it. His elder brother, Junior Nunez, made a huge sacrifice by giving up his footballing career and taking up a full-time job in his hometown to help him and his parents.

Darwin’s brother then became his driving factor in football as he started to rise up the ranks. He started to play for Penarol’s senior team at the age of 18 but suffered a nasty knee injury after tearing his ACL.

During his years at Penarol, Nunez received regular setbacks in the form of knee injuries. But his brother kept pushing him to recover strongly and prove his quality.

He was signed by Spanish club Almeria in 2019 and spent one season there, scoring 16 goals in 32 games. It was also during his time at Almeria, where he received a decent salary, that one act defined Nunez’s personality.

His colleague Badia explained the act, saying: “We were in a shop, he (Darwin Nuñez) was buying a phone, but it was just a normal one, not the top, most expensive one he could find. I asked why he wasn’t buying a better phone. He said, ‘This is enough – I can call my mother with this.”

It was his impressive goal-scoring ability that convinced Benfica to sign him for €24m in 2020. He proved to be a revelation, scoring 48 goals in 85 appearances for the Portuguese club.

Despite his newfound fame and becoming a wealthy man after moving through the ranks in Europe, Nunez is unlikely to forget his humble roots.

Liverpool might be losing one down-to-earth humanitarian in Sadio Mane this year, but they seem to have found his spiritual successor in Darwin Nunez.