Liverpool gem survived career-ending injury aged just 17 – now he’s a star for Liverpool

Liverpool signed Darwin Nunez for £85M as he became a household name in England almost overnight.

But die-hard fans have known about the Uruguayan for years and his rise has been well documented across Europe.

From his early humble beginnings to an £85M transfer to one of the biggest clubs in the world – the journey has been incredible already – and he’s still only 23.

What people didn’t know is that at 17 – he faced a career-ending injury but battled through adversity and mental and physical issues to be the forward that we see today.

Major injury at 17…

An article in the Athletic details the story told by Fernando Curutchet – the director of Penarol’s academy in Uruguay – in which he feared he had caused the injury indirectly.

Nunez had forced himself into the U23s side as they went for the title – Curutchet reluctantly let him play but Nunez landed awkwardly after a header, with his knee buckling under the weight of his body, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

“I got a lump in my throat when I found out what had happened,” Curutchet tells The Athletic, his voice cracking with emotion.

“He had such a mature attitude,” recalls Curutchet. “He told me, ‘Don’t worry. Don’t feel guilty.

It was revealed that after his recovery he really struggled with the pain and according to Leonardo Ramos – who took over as first team coach of Penarol – and that he wanted to quit football.

“He’d end every training session in tears,” Ramos told the Athletic. “He told me he wanted to quit football and return to Artigas. He said he could not take the pain.”

What makes him great?

What makes him great now has always been there according to Curutchet; all the attributes we see now including his intensity, aggression, hunger to work hard and score goals have all been there from the start:

“Darwin already looked like the kind of player who would go as far as he wanted in the game. If he had a ceiling, he would decide where it was. You could not fail to see his quality.”

Pedro Emanuel – the coach who brought Nunez to Almeria claims: “He knows that his has been a story of hard work and sacrifice,” concludes Emanuel. “He takes that into every training session and every game. He’s a fighter.

“The solidarity, the work ethic, the collective spirit… he fits Liverpool like a glove.”

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