After enjoying a tremendous year at Manchester City winning four trophies and being named in the Premier League Team of the Year, Bernardo Silva couldn’t have asked for more. Yet, the City midfielder got exactly that. Just as was the case with the City team, the former Monaco man distinguished himself at the international stage and was instrumental to Portugal lifting the inaugural UEFA Nations League trophy.
Cristiano Ronaldo got many talking with a remarkable hat-trick against Switzerland in the semi-final that took Portugal to the final of the competition. Then, when the Juventus talisman was silenced by a resilient Netherlands team made up of some of the best defenders in the game at the moment, Silva provided the all important assist for the winning goal.
His inch-perfect pass in the 60th minute of the match split open a defence consisting of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt among others. Valencia’s forward Goncalo Guedes did the rest slamming the ball into the net.
The game ended 1-0 as Ronald Koeman’s men could not get a goal to find their way back into the contest. Winning the Nations League represents Silva’s first piece of silverware with his country. But watching the young Portuguese talents that now form the core of the national team, it’s safe to say this will not be the last.
It’s also safe to say that Bernardo Silva is about to explode. When Pep Guardiola confessed that he had become the first name on his team sheet, it seemed the Catalan-born manager was just lavishing praise on the 24-year-old. But the diminutive midfielder has proved his manager right with eye-catching performances that also earned him the club's Player of the Year award. Yet, he is just getting started.
When Guardiola made the move to bring Silva from Monaco to City, it appeared the Portuguese was sought to understudy and subsequently replace his namesake David Silva. No one knew for sure if he was capable of stepping into such big shoes.
Fortunately, not only has he stepped up, he is quickly surpassing expectations. He has become more or less a utility player for Guardiola who can fill in for almost any position on the pitch. From the center of the midfield to the wings and even as the lone man upfront, Silva can deliver the goods.
Thanks in large part to him City hardly missed both Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane last season even with their limited time on the pitch due to different reasons. When one considers the fact that these were City’s best players in the season prior, Silva’s accomplishment becomes remarkable. In the end the manager takes the credit for a job well done. But even he knows those who were instrumental in helping him achieve his goals.
The midfielder may well be the first name on his mind.
The best part is that he is now getting into the peak of his powers and we are poised to enjoy him for the years to come as he helps the club get to the next level of success on the field of play.