20 | Bernardo Silva - 2023/24

You disagree?

It's obviously a lot harder to show your level at WHU when playing City, but Kudus certainly didn't struggle to show it.
Yes, I disagree. Fwiw I think Paqueta is a very good player, but I’m unsure if he will greatly improve our side — not to say he won’t, just that it isn’t obvious to me.

As to the Bernardo comparison and levels, I won’t bore you with stats, which you too could look up. There are however a few intangibles that make Bernardo a football coach’s dream player.

With his uncanny tactical nous and ability to see things others don’t, and move the opponents out of position, he is - more than any other current player - the embodiment of Pep’s philosophy on the pitch. Note how he engineered the assist for Rodri’s goal yesterday to disrupt a packed defence, a near replica of his assist from last year’s CL final. Or his heading back the ball to not get into a losing race with Antonio, when 99% of players would have let it bounce or tried to head it to the goalie.

Pep has said of him “he is one of the best players I have ever coached”, words he rarely ever uses to describe anyone outside of Lahm, David Silva, Iniesta and Messi.

Outside of GK, central defence and RB, Bernardo has played every position in our formation. Think about that for a moment. That versatility blows my mind.

There’s also the sheer effort and hard work Bernardo puts in every game. His rare off games are because he misses passes or gets easily dispossessed or misses an “easy” shot at goal. We never bemoan him for being switched off. And man does he put in a shift to help his teammates out (note how secure Walker’s side of the defence has been since Bernardo’s been on the right wing) or in pressing the openers in the dying embers of a game (when most others don’t even bother).

Then there is his availability, which I consider is a necessary hallmark of a truly great player. He is mostly injury free after running and dribbling as much as he does, both strongly correlated to getting fouled in our physical league.

I think Bernardo, more than most in our team, sets the standards for what it means to be a City player. This has long term implications in setting expectations for new signings. Standards that a player like Paqueta will need to rise up to should he be so lucky to be in this City team in the future.
Standing on the podium with his scrunched down socks and sneakers yestersay, he looked like a middle aged dentist trapped in the body of a 12 year old. But there he was, one of the greatest players ever. Even my 13 year old (who is 4 inches taller than Bernardo!), who doesn’t like football and doesn’t know much about it, remarked when he saw City play in person, “He’s clearly the best player on the pitch. He’s everywhere.” As others have said, given his availability and willingness to play anywhere, I don’t know why you don’t try and keep him as long as possible. Even if he gets to the point he’s just coming on as a sub. Can they hire someone to follow his wife with a sun lamp?
Just seen his interview with Dickov, looks like a farewell interview to me unfortunately, what a player he’s been.
I also think he will leave this summer, because of his exit clause. What a player, one of the best since his arrival. Hopefully I´m wrong, but maybe he wants another adventure.

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