Bernardo Silva is just like the lad you’d want to be best mates with. I had the pleasure of following his Instagram story as he shared his experiences of Manchester City’s ‘fourmidables’ trophy parade. He went from bus top drinking to just drinking and shoving cameras in Kevin De Bruyne and Danilo’s faces to name a few. He’s not just a top class professional and a wonderful player, he looks like a brilliant character to be around and his presence in the dressing room must be crucial in our success. Adding to that, he was quite deservedly awarded the Manchester City and City Xtra’s Player of the Season as voted for by the fans on our Instagram page. But should he get more than that? Im fully behind the Bernardo for Ballon De’or cause.
Around December last season, Bernardo Silva was what Riyad Mahrez is now; a player used sporadically. Now he’s arguably the first name on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet. So what in Pep’s mind has changed to cause such a drastic improvement? Towards the back end of last season we started to see why we’d bought the Portuguese international, with performances most notably at Arsenal away being one of them. But Guardiola admits pre-season is where Bernardo really caught his eye. The pair of them agreed that the midfielder was to return early from his extended break from the World Cup in 2018 and join the rest of the well-rested squad in the USA. The manager admired Bernardo’s effort and commitment and of course his ability shone through in City’s final game in the States when he dragged us back from two goals down against Bayern Munich to give the Blues a 3-2 win on the night.
Pep Guardiola then even went on to describe his performances as ‘perfect’ when he shone in Manchester City’s Community Shield success in August 2018, where he set up Sergio Aguero for our second in a 2-0 victory. But as he said recently, he ‘can’t help that he’s a perfectionist’, right?
#JusticeForBernardo seems to have worked. I’ve not seen a lot of pranks on him since the constant ‘torture’, mainly from the Brazilians, last season. Maybe it’s out of fear of injuring or upsetting our little maestro, who knows. But his performances on the pitch must be admired by his teammates.
I really was trying to pick out a performance of the season and I simply can’t decide between two. So let’s start with the prior, when Liverpool came to town. Manchester City were at risk of going 10 points behind the league leaders at the time. However, a win would take the Blues within just four points Jurgen Klopp’s men. Funnily enough, Bernardo Silva’s only goal contribution came in the form of an assist, but there was a lot more to this performance than that single cross of the ball. Bernardo covered 13.7km over the course of the 90 minutes. There was not a blade of Etihad grass that he didn’t grace that night, and he did not stop running till the final whistle. The brilliance of Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sané’s goals were the talking points, however Bernardo was every City fans hero that day.
Talking of being a hero. If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, I always manage to slip in my hatred for a certain club that’s a swear word in my house. City turned up at Old Trafford knowing we had to win four games to once again be crowned Premier League Champions. Olé’s wheel had veered off somewhere into a ditch on the M62 after a 4-0 hammering at Goodison Park and the once dominant force of English football had become a laughing stock – and I’m sure myself, and every other City fan was loving and soaking in every minute of it.
Bernardo Silva was our hero in enemy territory that night, treating the turf where some legends of the game have played like his back garden. He toyed with United throughout the match with stinging efforts followed by mesmerising runs, before tracking back 70 yards to recover a ball at left-back when he started as a right winger.
Then, that moment. The moment where he caught the so called ‘best keeper in the world’ off guard with a low effort into the bottom corner to send the City fans into dreamland. Vincent Kompany’s goal is the most I’ve celebrated a goal this season, but seen as though this happened prior, I screamed like a little kid and ran around the house like a lunatic when that ball hit the net. Bernardo Silva’s infectious, passionate celebrations are only celebrations I can liken to that of our recently departed skipper. It doesn’t matter if we’re 9-0 ahead or 2-0 down, he celebrates them all the same. He cares, he truly cares.
There’s no one in that dressing room that deserves this treble more than the spine that have carried us to stardom. But the little Portuguese wizard has made some of our wildest dreams come true this season and he even complained we should be pushing them to now win European trophies. His character, not just amongst the dressing room, but with the fans leaves me questioning whether he might be a candidate for the permanent captain’s armband when it comes to the time of deciding. ‘We’re not going to Madriddddddd, sorry guys’ was his response to the fans serenading him at the parade, but I’m sure that European Cup will be heading our way in the near future, and Bernardo Silva fills me with even more confidence on that matter.
As for the Ballon De’or. One of the go too men, Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been at his best this season and the mesmerising Lionel Messi went from a treble opportunity to losing a three goal lead in the Champions League semi final and losing in the Copa Del Rey final. Obviously, neither of these were the Argentinians fault in particular but Bernardo was a major part in dragging City over the line in all the competitions we won. He was MOTM in our Carabao Cup final win, he made the Premier League TOTY as-well as being nominated for it’s Player of the Year and contributed with two stunning assists in the FA Cup final.
If Bernardo Silva played for Real Madrid, Barcelona or even Liverpool, just like Virgil Van Djik is (and rightly so), he’d be one of the favourites for Footballer of the Year. But the reality is, he won’t be anywhere near because Manchester City are corrupt in the eyes of the world.