Shining in De Bruyne's absence and reuniting with girlfriend.. how Bernardo Silva became Man City's star man again

SPAIN’S top clubs must have been kicking themselves when they watched Bernardo Silva’s goal of the season contender at Villa Park on Wednesday.

Manchester City’s Portuguese maestro had set his heart on a move to Barcelona or Atletico Madrid during the summer.

For personal reasons, he wanted out of the Etihad – while he was also concerned the arrival of Jack Grealish for £100 million would limit his game time.

City would have listened if a decent offer had come in too as Pep Guardiola does not want to keep players whose heads have been turned.

What price for Bernardo now though – just over three months since the transfer window shut?

Guardiola believes the former Monaco man is the best player in the Prem on current form – and there’s probably only Mo Salah could argue with him.

Yet his City boss felt the same way in 2018/9 – as Silva was the shining light as City romped to an unforgettable domestic treble.

Pep said on Wednesday night: “Bernardo has a special ability to do what he wants with the ball. If you watch him two or three seasons ago, you will see them same player you are seeing now.”


Yet in the two years that followed, the £43 million ace lost his way.

The racism storm which followed an ill-advised tweet to Benjamin Mendy back in September 2019 knocked him sideways and affected his form on the pitch.

For a few months later he also struggled during the Covid lockdown – as he was unable to make trips home to visit family and friends.

It also meant he spent a long time apart from his model girlfriend Ines Tomaz – which all led to him yearning for a move closer to his native Portugal.

Guardiola hinted recently that things have settled down for Silva in his personal life recently – and City have certainly reaped the benefit of that.

He has been used on the right as an attacking midfielder but also as a false nine this season – but is the sort of player who can fill in anywhere.

His sensational form has meant that Kevin de Bruyne – who has started only 10 games in all competitions this season due to illness and injury – has barely been missed.

Could it just be a co-incidence that the Belgian superstar also missed much of that treble-winning campaign when Bernardo shone so brightly?

KdB, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Ilkay Gundogan were all unfit to start at Villa – and might have wondered where they fit back in during a blistering first half show.

What’s certain is it won’t be in place of Bernardo for the time being – Guardiola has already said he is ‘undroppable’.

Had City managed to agree a deal for Harry Kane in the summer it could have hastened the 27-year-old’s departure as his club looked to balance the books.

Keeping him could turn out to be the best bit of business the champions have done in a long time.

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