The Uruguayan is in red hot form having found the back of the net 31 times across all competitions for the Portuguese club this season and looks set to take the next step in his career.
Benfica travel to England to take on Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday. Although the Reds have one foot firmly in the final four courtesy of a dominant 3-1 win in the first leg last week, the spotlight would be on 22-year-old visiting striker Darwin Nunez, who has reportedly attracted interests from Premier League’s elite including Liverpool. The Uruguayan is in red hot form having found the back of the net 31 times across all competitions for the Portuguese club and looks set to take the next step in his career.
— SL Benfica (@slbenfica_en) April 9, 2022
Nunez scored Benfica’s only goal in the tie so far and the onus will be on him to overturn a two goal deficit against the 2019 champions at the Anfield. Although it might seem like a little too ambitious, the Liverpool defence would be keeping a close eye on the youngster as he is capable of doing the unthinkable.
In Benfica’s last game against Primeira Liga side Belenenses on Saturday, Nunez scored a hat-trick to help his side secure all three points. He has scored 10 goals in his last 10 games across all competitions for Benfica. Meanwhile he also netted Benfica’s decisive goal in the last-16 tie against Ajax.
Although Benfica isn’t having a great domestic season as they are placed third in the league standings, 15 points adrift of the leaders FC Porto, their Champions League performances have been impressive.
The Portuguese club qualified for the round of 16 of the Champions League courtesy of a runner-up finish behind Bayern Munich and above FC Barcelona in the group stage. Benfica secured a brilliant 3-0 win against five-time champions Barcelona courtesy of Nunez’ brace. Nunez has already scored five goals in Europe’s elite competition this season so far and if he can score two more at Anfield we are in for a thriller.
Benfica boss Nelson Verissimo has already informed that Nunez is free to leave the club at the end of the season. The Urugayan’s contrat with the club is until 2025 and the buyers will have to splash out a lot of money to get the services of the striker.
Nunez didn’t have an easy route to the top tier of European football. After coming through the ranks in homeland with Penarol, he joined Spanish second-tier side Almeria on a five-year deal in 2018, a move that netted his boyhood club GBP 3.4 million.
Nunez quickly settled into Spanish football and a 16-goal season was enough to persuade Benfica to buy him for around GBP 20 million, in September 2020. In his first season in Portugal, the Uruguayan scored 14 goals and registered 12 assists in 42 appearances across all competitions, impressive stats for a teenager.
His pace, strength, intelligent link-up play and an eye for goal quickly helped him to rise to limelight. In January 2021, Telegraph reported that Manchester City had earmarked Nunez as a potential successor to Sergio Aguero.
The 22-year-old is one of the most sought after names in world football right now because of his impressive stats. His 31 goals have come in 34 appearances overall this term, with 25 starts. He has eight more goals than another promising striker Erling Haaland. Meanwhile the Borussia Dortmund star plays in a much more competitive Bundesliga.
Meanwhile Nunez has netted five goals in nine Champions League appearances so far and if he can add to his tally on Wednesday, expect the hype around his transfer rumour to go into overdrive.