Darwin Nunez will have his first real day as a Liverpool player later this week and cap the end of his time at Benfica with Portugal’s MVP award.
Due to his interrupted summer with Uruguay and the fallout from his deal to join the Reds, Nunez was not part of the first group to return to pre-season training.
Instead, the £85m striker will reunite with his new team-mates for the first time this weekend when Liverpool fly to Thailand for a Far East tour.
It will be a nerve-wracking moment for the 23-year-old but he certainly has the talent to back it up, as he proved last season with 34 goals in 41 games for Benfica.
26 of those came in 28 games in the Primeira Liga, along with four assists, and although Benfica finished third in the league, they also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they were eliminated by Liverpool.
In case of doubt, his name will clarify: DAR??? ?
He was top scorer, earned a spot in the XI of the Year and now occupies the throne as MVP of the Year #LigaPortugalbwin ??
— Liga Portugal (@ligaportugal) July 5, 2022
Nunez’s outstanding form in Portugal last term has now been acknowledged best player – in English, Player of the Year – with the prestigious MVP award.
The forward received his award, voted for by the managers and captains of the 18 Primeira Liga clubs, via video link during a ceremony in Porto on Tuesday.
“I would like to thank all the coaches and captains of the bwin teams in the Liga Portugal, as well as my team-mates and the SL Benfica fans,” he said.
“Without her nothing would have been possible.
“I am very happy to have been named the best player in a competition where I learned a lot due to its competitiveness.
“It’s a league that also allows for the development of young players, especially to gain experience, as happened to me.
“Thank you everyone and good luck for 2022/23!”
Nunez becomes the second Uruguayan to win the award, with former Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates accepting the 2020/21 Player of the Year trophy after his superb season at Sporting CP.
Previous winners include Bruno Fernandes, Nemanja Matic, David Luiz and Hulk.
Liverpool’s new No. 27 also lifted the top scorer trophy this week after scoring at least eight goals more than any other player in the Primeira Liga.