Darwin Nunez was always going to catch the eyes of the footballing world when he completed his summer move to Liverpool.
The 23-year-old has signed for the Reds from Benfica in a deal worth around £64m which could rise to £85m following additions.
Such a move was a huge sign of intent from Liverpool, who had just lost the Premier League title to Manchester City by one point for the second time in four seasons.
After enjoying such success at Benfica, Nunez now has the chance to prove himself on the big stage, and he will get the chance at the World Cup with the Uruguayan side.
However, his journey to Anfield and then to Qatar was by no means easy for him.
Born in the northern town of Artigas in 1999, on the border with Brazil, Nunez grew up in a poor family where his father Bibiano was a bricklayer and his mother Silvia sold bottles of milk.
He started playing football at a young age, starring for local teams La Luz and San Miguel de Artigas.
Former Uruguay midfielder Jose Perdomo quickly spotted the 14-year-old, as he had done before with Nunez’ brother Junior, and the youngster moved to the capital, Montevideo.
Neymar distraught after injury but Brazil boss Tite gives positive update
Richarlison’s acrobatic goal called ‘one of the greatest in World Cup history’
Man United ‘more attractive’ than Liverpool and timing of sale no coincidence
Apple interested in buying Man United as tech giants try to take club from Glazers
England’s possible route to Qatar 2022 World Cup final with dates and times confirmed
Michael Beale: QPR expect manager to become new Rangers boss
Despite his young age, he left his family to join Penarol, a giant of Uruguayan club football.
Nunez was therefore able to launch his career in one of the best teams in the South American country, but the striker suffered a crucial setback early on.
He was out of action for over a year after suffering a cruciate ligament injury and had surgery in early 2017.
Speaking to Futbol.uy, he revealed how much the setback affected him, hinting that he wanted to quit: “I suffered a nasty injury that took me a year and five months.
“Sometimes I wanted to stop playing, but my family and my teammates were always there and encouraged me to keep going. I decided to do it and today I am stronger than ever.
However, Nunez made his senior debut for the club later that year, before undergoing surgery for a second time.
The youngster scored four goals for Penarol and quickly caught the eye of European sides, with Spanish Segunda Division side Almeria signing the striker on a five-year deal in the summer of 2019.
He didn’t make his first appearance for them until early October that year, but Nunez ended the campaign with 16 league goals, making him the fourth-highest goalscorer.
This season also saw him make his first senior appearance for Uruguay, coming off the bench to score the equalizer in their 1-1 international friendly draw against Peru.
Benfica came in 2020 and despite spending just one season at Almeria, they have moved up to the Portuguese top flight for their next European challenge.
Despite a few injury absences here and there, Nunez endured a storm in his first season as he amassed 26 goal contributions in 44 games across all competitions.
It was soon clear that Benfica had real talent on their hands as the following season they took their game to a whole new level.
Nunez went on to score 34 goals in the 2021/22 campaign, including six in the Champions League as they reached the quarter-finals of the competition.
Benfica were knocked out by Liverpool over two legs but the Reds were able to get a good taste of his true talent as the striker netted twice in the game.
Clearly, it was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s side to move on, and they quickly signed their new striker after Sadio Mane’s loss to Bayern Munich.
Again, there were hurdles to overcome in the beginning.
He scored in the 3-1 Community Shield win over City and then on his Premier League debut against Fulham but was sent off for a header on Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen on his first outing at Anfield for the United Reds.
The Liverpool new man went on to draw unfair comparisons between himself and City’s Erling Haaland given the scale of the two moves to the English top flight.
However, as he flies to Qatar to play in the World Cup, Nunez has 11 goals and assists for the season so far.
Given his nationality, many fans have started drawing comparisons to Luis Suarez who was nothing short of prolific during his time at Anfield.
Such a connection is certainly justified, but a stat has proven that he may already be doing better than his compatriot.
Nunez’s five goals and two assists are the second-best record behind Mane for a Liverpool player after 10 league games; Suarez could only manage three and three.
After a shaky start, the explosive and sometimes unpredictable striker has now made his mark in the Premier League.
And Liverpool fans would love nothing more than to see one of their own dominate the world stage and ruin Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup when Uruguay take on Portugal in the second group game.