New Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez has been named Liga Portugal’s 2021/22 Player of the Year for his outstanding performances during the campaign for Benfica.
Nunez has completed a €100m transfer to Liverpool that could make him the club’s most expensive ever player if various add-ons included in the deal are triggered, having come to prominence over the last 12 months because of his goals in Benfica colours.
The 22-year-old Uruguayan netted 26 times in 28 Primeira Liga appearances during the 2021/22 season, reaching 34 in 41 across all competitions – including six in the Champions League.
It was a breakout season of epic proportion, having scored only six league goals in his only previous top flight campaign in Europe. A year earlier than that, Nunez had been playing for Almeria in Spain’s second tier, highlighting just how rapid his progress has been.
Recent past winners of the Liga Portugal award include Bruno Fernandes, Jonas, Nemanja Matic, Hulk and David Luiz. Nunez is the first to win it for achievements as a Benfica player since Pizzi in 2016/17 as a result of recent Sporting CP dominance.
Countryman and former Premier League forward Diego Forlan has backed Nunez to be a success at Liverpool because he already scores goals and will learn more technical and tactical aspects of the game from manager Jurgen Klopp.
"I believe that one of the things he can bring is, without a doubt, goals," Forlan told 90min ES last month. "Then, as time goes on, he’ll keep growing on the technical aspect. He will get to know his abilities better and he will develop them more and more too, while also gaining experience.
"He’s going to a team with an amazing manager that knows football very well…how to attack the space, how to use his players and how to get the best out of them."