If all goes as planned, the way Manchester City have played so far this season may have been very different.
For the second summer in a row, Bernardo Silva hasn’t strayed far from the Etihad stadium he wanted.
After the pandemic-hit 2020 transfer market squandered any chance of City receiving a fitting offer for their Portuguese star, Bernardo agreed to keep him in place for another year.
Come to the end of 2020/21, a season that saw Bernardo win a third Premier League medal and reach the Champions League final, he still wanted to leave. He has reportedly been unsettled in Manchester, happy with his role in the team but wants to get closer to home.
As we all know, he hasn’t left, and now he’s heading into the 186th Manchester derby as Manchester City’s player of the season. His tireless work as a number eight is crucial to City’s possession-based approach, and when City lose the ball, he presses like few players.
“I feel happy now,” he told Sky Sports ahead of Saturday’s game. “I love the club, I’ve always loved the club. I feel love from the fans, from the coaching staff and from my teammates and that wasn’t the question at all.”
This will be music to the ears of City fans. Ever since his great skills and fighting spirit for Manchester City led him to a relentless title fight with Liverpool in 2019, he has become a fan favorite in East Manchester.
When he heads out to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday, he will line up against the fans’ favorite Portuguese.
Bernardo knows Cristiano Ronaldo well, having played together for Portugal for years. Had City made their way into the transfer window, it would have been their Portuguese striker, not Bernardo.
Sometimes in football, things end up being for the better. As against Ronaldo, Bernardo is proof of that.
We all know about urgency. Bernardo does it, and Ronaldo does not. When City presses, as seen against Chelsea and Liverpool, Bernardo forms part of a group of thermal rockets, unable to stop until the goal is reached.
Given that City have been open to letting him go in the summer, the fact that he has started 13 of 14 potential Premier League and Champions League matches this season is an indication of his importance.
Bernardo is a team player, a fighter for every ball and the last person trying to claim personal credit in a team victory.
Ronaldo is the opposite. Most of the time, he was United’s rider, an attacking captain who couldn’t press effectively due to their lack of running spell, and a player whose last-minute arrival forced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to tear up any tactical plans he had formed. before the season.
Yes, Ronaldo managed to bring goals to United, but they were almost exclusively from the last minute squad. Ronaldo’s specialty is his ability to save United from situations caused in part by his presence in the first place.
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In every sense, Ronaldo is an individual. He plays with the team, but mostly the same. He’s the protagonist, United’s results are all about him, while on the other side of town Bernardo continues his work the way Guardiola demands self-sacrifice.
Pep may have wanted to remake City’s style in favor of Ronaldo, so he was desperate to bring in an elite striker after the Harry Kane deal that never materialized, but most City fans are very happy he never did.
If Bernardo performs at Old Trafford as he has this season, then City will have a good chance of overcoming United’s midfield and winning an important victory. In doing so, it would represent the victory of the group over the individual.
Bernardo is the opponent of Ronaldo and this suits City and Guardiola perfectly.
Should City be glad they kept Bernardo and not sign Ronaldo? Follow our city clerk Alex Brothertonon Twitter to join the conversation and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.