Darwin Nuñez’ start to life in the Premier League was interesting, to put it mildly, with the 23-year-old Uruguayan shown a violent conduct red card for throwing a headbutt in just his second league appearance.
The comparisons to a former Liverpool and Uruguay striker known for the occasional emotional outburst that followed were perhaps inevitable, and it’s perhaps no surprise then to learn that Luis Suarez reached out to Nuñez.
“I think his gesture was really important for me,” Nunez told ESPN this week. “Luis is a reference point, an idol everywhere in the world. I’m getting started, I’m young, and he knows about all those things because he already played in the Premier League with Liverpool.
“Luis told me that these things will happen in every game, that they’ll come and find me, that they’re going to bump into me, and that I need to make myself strong and not repeat my screw-up. He said, ‘Listen to an idiot like me.’”
Suarez’ time at Liverpool saw his many remarkable performances on the pitch marred by incidents when the proverbial red mist descended and the striker lashed out, earning him bans for biting and racially abusing opponents.
Eventually, though, Suarez managed to fully control and channel that anger he was prone to—though unfortunately for Liverpool and the club’s fans, it wasn’t until after he departed for Barcelona.
Unlike Saurez, though, Nuñez arrived at Liverpool with a clean discipline record whereas Suarez’ time at Ajax before he moved to England was similarly marred, and so there is reason to hope Nuñez’ loss of control doesn’t speak to a larger issue for the player.