Darwin Nuñez has revealed that he spoke to Liverpool and Uruguay legend Luis Suarez about taking over the number nine shirt for his country.
The 24-year-old Reds striker is set to become the focal point of a new era for Uruguay, who will start their World Cup 2026 qualification campaign this September under the management of Marcelo Bielsa.
However, the Celeste will do so without veteran forwards Suarez or Edinson Cavani (both 36), who have not been called up for the games against Chile and Ecuador.
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Though neither have officially retired from international duty, former Leeds boss Bielsa has made it clear he is looking to the future, leaving Nuñez as his country’s most high-profile attacker
Speaking of his new responsibilities at international level, Nuñez – who has regularly worn the number 11 for Uruguay – revealed he had spoken to Suarez about inheriting the famous number nine shirt.
“The important thing is to score goals,” Liverpool’s number nine told Teledoce at Carrasco Airport, as quoted by ESPN. “If I score goals, that adds up, but I don’t feel any weight on my shoulders.”
Nuñez also joked that Suarez had one caveat for taking over his old number.
“I spoke with Luis Suarez and told him that I wanted to play with the number nine shirt and that I wanted to try to do my best, like he did,” Nuñez added. “He told me to represent the nine well, but said that if he has to come back [to the national team], the number nine is his.”
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Nuñez has already inherited one number nine shirt this summer, having been bestowed with the same kit for Liverpool following Roberto Firmino’s departure.
The striker’s Uruguay face Chile at home on Saturday, 9 September, before travelling to Ecuador on Tuesday, 12 September.