Darwin Nunez: I came to Liverpool to win trophies – I want to win a lot
In his first interview as a Liverpool player, Darwin Nunez detailed his ambition to make history with the club by helping grow its already-impressive trophy cabinet.
The No.27 – who arrives from Benfica, subject to the successful granting of a work permit and international clearance – has been taken aback by the amount of silverware on display at the AXA Training Centre.
Sitting down with Liverpoolfc.com in Kirkby shortly after signing a long-term contract, Nunez revealed how seeing all the honours amassed by his new club has only further fuelled his motivation.
Watch our exclusive chat with the Uruguayan striker here, or read on for the full transcript…
Darwin, huge congratulations and welcome to Liverpool. Tell us how it feels to be a Liverpool player…
Thanks very much. I’m really happy and delighted to be here at Liverpool. It’s a massive club. I’d like to thank my partner and my parents and my son, who is a real source of pride for me. They’ve been really important to me in the stages in my career. I’m really proud of them, and for the work we do, me and my partner, as a team and I’m grateful to her that I’m here. It’s a pleasure to be here in Liverpool and I’m very happy to be a part of this great club.
You’ve had the chance to walk around the training ground today, see the trophies, learn a little bit about the history. Has that made it feel a bit more real for you?
Yes, of course. When I arrived at the training ground, I was really surprised to see the set-up and the structure and all the trophies here. You can then imagine yourself winning more trophies and then later on when you come here again and see the trophies on display, you can say, ‘Look, I was a part of that, I was there at that time, winning trophies.’ That’s one of the reasons why I came here to Liverpool – to win trophies and titles. I want to win a lot of trophies at Liverpool.
Welcome to the Reds family, @Darwinn99 😁🔴
— LFC (Liverpool FC)
14th Jun 18:01
Why is this team, why is Liverpool most suited to you now at this point in your career, and for the long term?
I’ve played against Liverpool and I’ve seen them in lots of games in the Champions League, and it’s my style of play. There are some great players here and I think it’s going to suit my style of play here. As I say, I’ve watched quite a lot and it’s a very big club and I hope I can give everything that I’ve got in order to help the team.
Liverpool fans have seen you at close quarters and saw what you had to offer against us in the games in the Champions League. But what do you feel you can bring to the team, what can you offer this Liverpool squad?
It was a spectacular experience seeing what the fans are like in the stadium. It’s an incredible atmosphere. I think Liverpool have got absolutely everything – good players and supporters who really help the team at certain points in the game. So, yes, I think it is a very big club and it’s going to be great here.
In terms of playing at Anfield as well, how did that feel as an opposition player? Maybe you thought that one day you could play there in the famous red of Liverpool…
Like I was telling you, the atmosphere at that game was absolutely fantastic. Coming up against these great players is a great experience for me because it’s something you dream about as a boy. Playing there was an incredible experience and at that moment, I said to myself, ‘It must be great to actually play here.’ Playing here at Liverpool, a massive team, and now I’m here for real and I’m grateful to the fans and the club for giving me this fantastic opportunity.
You’ll have seen the interview clip, I’m sure, of Virgil van Dijk picking you out as one of the talents in European football, in world football at the moment. Now you’re in his team, how will that feel? You won’t have to play against him now…
It’s really nice when another player speaks so positively about you and, of course, Van Dijk is a really quick and strong player. The fact that he spoke really well of me was something I was really proud about and happy. So, yes, I’m proud of the effort and the hard work that I put in.
Have you had the chance to speak to Luis Suarez, or has he had the chance to speak to you about what to expect from Liverpool and what a great club that you’re joining?
No, not yet, I’ve not had a chance to be in touch with him just yet. But I’m sure when everything comes out on social media, I’ll give him a call or I’ll send him a photo that I’ve taken where he’s there in the background in a picture. I’ll send that to him and we’ll have a bit of a chat and I’ll ask him lots of questions so he can offer his support and help because he’s a real reference to me because he’s a Uruguayan footballer who made history at Liverpool. But, for sure, I’ll get the opportunity soon to call him and have a chat with him.
You made your first-team debut at 18, you’re not yet 23 – you’re used to big moves, you’re used to the pressure. Do you feel pressure or is this just an unbelievable opportunity for you?
No, I don’t feel any added pressure at all. I went to Benfica and they asked me the same question then. I don’t think a player has to feel this type of pressure, a player has to feel his own pressure that he puts on himself. I don’t feel pressured by anything or anybody, I think the only pressure on a player comes from within to ensure things go well. So, no extra pressure. I think I must have been performing pretty well to find myself at Liverpool. I want to make sure that I keep performing well, keep on the right path and don’t deviate from that path, while always remaining humble and keeping my feet on the ground.
You are still very young but you’ve joined for the long term, a long-term contract. Liverpool fans might be expecting goals straight away, but this is something where you’re here for the long term, for the best years of your career…
I feel very happy and very proud obviously and I’m here to contribute to the team. If I score goals or I don’t score goals, I always want to give maximum effort. So let’s hope things go well for me and we win even more trophies than we’ve already got. I’m not too concerned about whether I’m scoring goals. Of course, as a striker you live off the goals that you score but I find that when one goes in, more follow. The main thing for me is to help the team because they’re going to need me and I’m going to need them. I can’t wait to be here with my teammates, training alongside them and getting to know them so that things can go well for us as a team.
You scored lots of goals last year but when you look at Liverpool’s forward line and you being part of that, how much excitement do you get about being part of it now next season?
Hugely excited. Like I said before, there are some top, top players here with great qualities. There is Firmino, who’s a great player; and then Jota, who is another great striker; Luis Diaz, Salah. To play alongside these ‘monsters’ is going to be something really special for me because as a kid you dream of going far and I dreamt of being able to play in Europe but I didn’t expect to get as far as a great club like Liverpool. I can tell you, I’m really enjoying it so far and enjoying being here with my partner. If my partner is happy, I am happier because your family is fundamental. So, there’ll be a lot of competition between the forwards here but it will be healthy competition. We’re all here to help each other out so everything goes well for everybody.
And of all of those players that you mentioned, they were top, top players when they arrived at Liverpool – but Jürgen Klopp made them even better. Is that something that fills you with excitement as well, the prospect to work with this great manager and his staff?
It’s great for any player that a manager can improve and polish you as a player, and I think that Klopp is going to help me hugely. I think the players themselves – like Firmino and the other experienced players – are going to help me greatly too. It will be great that Klopp can show me lots more things. I’m still only 22 and I’ve got lots that I can still learn and this is a brand new experience for me.
In terms of the timing of the move as well, it’s perfect, isn’t it? You get a short holiday now and then a full pre-season for you to get used to the ideas of Jürgen Klopp and his staff, and to get that full run-up with the team in pre-season also…
I’m going to be here for many years and this has only just started for me. I’ll now try to get some rest and relaxation with my family, and then after that start to integrate into the group in pre-season training. And from then on, start a very long career. I think it’s all going to be very good.
Just finally, English lessons will start soon but do you have a phrase, a bit of Scouse you’ve picked up in the first couple of days of being on Merseyside for the fans?
Like I was saying, my English is very bad. I’ve got to make sure I learn it quickly, without a doubt. I think it’s really important that a player can speak English because it helps you a lot in everything. But I have got one phrase, ‘Boss tha!’