Benficas Darwin Nunez är högaktuell för en övergång till Liverpool och i en serie av inlägg kommer vi att titta på hur hans karriär sett ut fram till idag. Vi börjar med en inblick i Nunez tid hos Peñarol, klubben i Uruguay där han först slog igenom.

Darwin Nunez status
– Leandro från podcasten @capsinfiltro och en representant från podcasten @acapenarol

1. When was the first time you heard about Darwin Nunez?
I had first heard of Darwin Núñez when his impressive development stood out in Peñarol’s youth academy. He was called up to the first team when he reached the age of 17 or 18.

Aca Peñarol: The first time I heard the name of Darwin Nuñez was when he was playing in the Peñarol academy, back in 2018. He was in the third division of the club and was starting to score goals. Later his name was taking color until he was called from the first division, where people began to know him more.

2. What kind of player was he when he broke in to your team?
Leandro: He was always explosive on the attack, a characteristic that is still very much part of his game today. As a youngster he lacked awareness and proper timing at times, as well as lacking some confidence during 1 v 1 chances against the keeper. This was, however, expected for such a young player. Like in European teams, it takes time for a youngster to develop into a mature first team starter. Most of the time he would come in as a substitute during games. He managed to score 4 goals in 14 first division appearances. Three of those goals was a hat trick.

Aca Peñarol: He is a very strong player, you can see at a glance that he is an athlete. In Peñarol he lacked things and he did not finish exploiting, but he evolved a lot in Almeria and then he finished showing his qualities in Benfica, being a scorer and an important figure. But he is fast, powerful and with a goal, I could say that he has a similarity with Halland.

3. When did you realize that his talent would take him abroad?
Leandro: As a top player that he is today, he has exceded my expectations. On paper, he was tall, physical, explosive and hungry for goals. Therefore every Peñarol fan knew that he always had the potential to be special. He was sold very quickly to Almería where he further developed and later moved on to Benfica where he really shined. I wish we could have kept him a little longer to enjoy him more, but in his case leaving so young did him well. This is not always the case.

Aca Peñarol: As I told you, in Peñarol he didn’t stand out much like in Almeria or Benfica, but we realized that he had no ceiling when he scored three great goals against a team from here in Uruguay, it was all very fast, although he started playing without confidence and then he finished as one of the best on the team.

4. Are you surprised by his development since moving to Europe?
Leandro: I’m surprised to an extent. Like I mentioned previously, everyone knew he had the talent and potential to become a special player. He’s physically gifted and extremely quick. At that time, that’s all he was, a great prospect. Then he developed the other skill sets that makes him the top player that he is today.

Aca Peñarol: Yes, all Peñarol fans were surprised by its growth in Europe. Perhaps in Peñarol he played under a lot of pressure and that played against him, then he settled in good shape at Almeria and at Benfica he finished showing the good level that he promised since the formations in Peñarol. But his football development was very surprising, we never thought he would reach a giant like Liverpool.

5. If he signs for Liverpool, what kind of player do we get?
Leandro: A prolific striker in every sense of the word. He still maintains the speed and explosiveness but now he accompanies it with even more physicality (the lad is huge now, I just saw him a few days ago playing for Uruguay vs USA), exceptional awareness on the pitch, able to strike the ball explosively as well as finish calmly and with finesse. Because of his speed, he can be even more dangerous on the counter-attack. His highlights at Benfica really speak for themselves.

Aca Peñarol: As I said, he is a very fast and powerful player, without fear and with a lot of sacrifice, the Uruguayan Halland but with a lot still to grow. He is still very young and he has to keep working hard, Liverpool is an interesting challenge for an interesting player.

6. You´ve had many world class players coming from your country, are there any youngsters in your League that you think We will see in a European giant in the future?
Leandro: I can speak about Peñarol in particular. I believe we have the strongest youth academy in the country. Producing not only players like Darwin but also Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez, Facundo Pellistri, Fede Valverde, Facundo Torres, etc. I think the one to look out for right now would be Agustin Alvarez Martinez, 20 year old striker for Peñarol who had en impressive year last year. There are transfer rumors that he will be joining Italian side US Sassuolo Calcio for 12,5 million USD in June. There is a large group of talented players currently in Peñarol’s youth academy. Peñarol’s under 20 squad just one the U20 2022 Copa Libertadores. If you go through that roster, there is enormous pool of talent everywhere. In August they will be playing the U20 Intercontinental Cup against Benfica U20 squad who most recently won the UEFA Youth Cup.

Aca Peñarol: Yes, Uruguay does not get tired of taking out good players and it is not news. I don’t know if they are footballingly and mentally prepared to take a giant leap to a team very much like Liverpool, but if they climb little by little like Darwin and many other cases, they could be talked about. Now the youngsters who don’t have a roof are already in Europe, if I have to recommend some for Liverpool to keep an eye on, they would be Satriano, Arezo, Ugarte, Pellistri, who plays for MU, Agustin Alvarez Martinez who has just arrived at Sassuolo and Facundo Towers that is in Orlando City. They are players who are going to make people talk and have a lot of projection.