The Rise Of Darwin Nunez: Liverpool’s New Club-record Signing

Liverpool have signed Benfica star Darwin Nunez for a club-record £85m. The Uruguayan striker scored 34 goals in 41 games for the Portuguese side last season.

The 22-year-old forward has signed a 6-year contract at Anfield.

FootballOrbit brings all you need to know about Jurgen Klopp’s latest addition.


Darwin Gabriel Nunez Ribeiro was born on the 24th of June 1999 in Artigas, Uruguay. Located at the Brazilian border, Artigas is an agricultural town far away from Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital.

Nunez came from an humble background; growing up in the impoverished riverside neighbourhood of Barrio Pirata.

His father, Bibiano Nunez, was a construction worker while his mother, Silvia Ribeiro, collected bottles in the street to hawk and sell. Due to their condition, Nunez’s family went to bed severally without meals.

In an interview, describing how his family faced poverty, he said;

“Yes, I went to bed severally with an empty stomach. But the one who went to bed more with an empty stomach was my mother”.

Football career

After honing his skills with street football, he felt ready to try out at a proper football academy and joined the academy of his home town club, La Luz.

Thereafter, he moved to San Miguel de Artigas academy.

Nunez joined the academy of one of Uruguay’s biggest football clubs, Peñarol, in 2013. This was made possible by the efforts of former Uruguay star, Jose Perdomo, who took the then 14-year-old to Montevideo to join his elder brother, Junior Nunez, in the club’s youth academy.

As a village boy, this was his first time in a big city and he marvelled at the lights in the city at night.

“The bus dropped me off at Tres Cruces. I feared because I have never seen a city all my life”

But his first stay at Peñarol did not last long as he felt homesick and decided to return home. Peñarol agreed to release him for a year. A year later, he rejoined the club in 2014.

Darwin almost returned to Artigas again — to finally quit football this time around — when his elder brother, Junior, dropped out from Penarol due to family problems, but his brother encouraged him to keep on playing.

Junior abandoned his career because of the need to find a job that will help him put food on the family table, he made the sacrifice so that his younger brother (Darwin) would have the opportunity to continue his own career.

Darwin decided to stay put and kept on striving. His perseverance later paid off; the humble, hardworking boy was considered mature and good enough to sign his professional contract by Peñarol.

In November 2017, an 18-year-old Darwin Nunez made his professional debut for Peñarol — coming on as a replacement for Maxi Rodríguez, former Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Argentina star.

Nunez scored his first career goal on the 13th of October 2018, netting the opener in a 2–0 victory over Fénix.

He helped Penarol to consecutive Uruguayan Primera league titles in 2017 and 2018, as well as victory in the 2019 Apertura.

The success at club level got Nunez a call to be part of Uruguay’s under-20 team for the South American Championship, where he helped his country finish third.

Europe (Almería)

Darwin Nunez - Almería
Darwin Nunez at Almería

His performances caught the attention of European scouts and on the 29th of August 2019, Darwin joined Spanish Segunda División side, Almería, on a 5-year deal for €‎5.4m (£4.6m/$5.7m).

He made his debut for Almería on the 3rd of October 2019 as an half-time substitute in a 4–2 league defeat against Sporting de Gijón.

On the 27th of October 2019, starting for the first time, Nunez scored his first goal for Almería in a 3–2 home win against Extremadura and started banging in goals thereafter.

He finished his only season at Almería as the league’s fourth top scorer with 16 goals and 3 assists in 32 matches, as the club narrowly missed out on promotion.


Darwin Nunez at Benfica
Nunez at Benfica

On the 4th of September 2020, Darwin Nunez joined Portuguese giants, Benfica, on a club-record fee of €24 million, signing a 5-year contract.

This was Almeria’s (and the Segunda División’s) biggest transfer, while the club will also receive 20% of a future transfer.

He scored his first goals for Benfica on the 22nd of October 2020 with an hat-trick in a 4–2 victory against Lech Poznań in the Europa League.

At the end of his first season in Portugal, Nunez scored 13 goals and provided 12 assists in all competitions to help Benfica to a 3rd-place finish in the league and qualification for the Champions League.


Darwin made a blistering start to the 2021/22 season, banging in goals from all angles along with sterling displays.

In September 2021, he scored his first two UEFA Champions League goals in a famous 3–0 victory over Barcelona, and was named as the Man Of the Match.

Nunez also scored two goals against Liverpool in the 2021/22 Champions League quarter-finals; one in the first leg and the other in the second leg — making a huge impression on Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp.

His 6 goals in the Champions league made him Benfica’s all-time top scorer in the competition’s history.

He ended the season with 26 goals in 28 league games to win the Bola de Prata award as top scorer of the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

Nunez scored 34 goals and provided 4 assists in 41 games in all competitions in 2021/22. His performances made him the subject of a transfer battle between some top European clubs.


On the 14th of June 2022, Darwin Nunez joined English giants Liverpool in a club-record £85m deal.

Liverpool will pay Benfica £64m ($79m) upfront and would later pay another £21m ($26m) in add-ons. Those add-ons range from scoring goals to winning the UEFA Champions League.

His former club, Almeria, will also receive 20 percent of the deal, which will be at least €9m.

Nunez has signed a 6-year contract that will keep him at Liverpool until 2028. His salary will be around £5m ($6.1m) per year.

He will wear the No 27 shirt at Anfield, which was vacated by Divock Origi this summer.

International level

Darwin Nunez - Uruguay
Nunez in Uruguay colours with Luis Suarez

Darwin Nunez played for the various youth teams of Uruguay before earning a call-up to the senior national team.

He made his senior international debut in October 2019 in a 1–1 draw against Peru in a friendly match. He replaced Brian Lozano in the 75th minute of the game and scored his first ever goal for Uruguay just five minutes later.

He missed the 2021 Copa America due to a right knee injury.

Style of play

Darwin Nunez is right-footed and possesses an athletic stature. Tall but very quick, he is capable of running through the middle or off the flanks.

He has excellent acceleration and sprinting speed, while his explosive change of pace makes him dangerous to stop.

He also has good awareness and makes incisive movements around the box and he’s adept at attacking open spaces and can shoot from various situations and strikes the ball well.

Nunez likes creating chances for his teammates around the opposition box and he’s also capable of playing as a left-winger.

FootballOrbit had earlier included Darwin Nunez among the top 25 transfers that could happen in the 2022 summer transfer window.

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