bernardo silva

Bernardo Silva: The most-wanted midfielder in Europe

Every top club in Europe wants him; every single manager on the continent finds him simply irresistible. But why is there so much buzz about young Monaco midfielder, Bernardo Silva - such that almost all clubs wants his signature? We find out why.

Meteoric rise

Despite being born in Lisbon, Silva's footballing conquest didn't start at Sporting Club, Portugal’s capital city side where compatriot, Cristiano Ronaldo, began his own career. Rather, it was the rival club, Benfica, that gave the promising midfielder a break at a tender age of eight. He progressed through the ranks at the club playing 38 games for the B team scoring seven times. Silva's exploits with the reserves, however, didn't translate to success with the main team as he managed just one appearance before Monaco came calling in 2014.

At this time, the French side had just scooped £63m from the sale of James Rodriguez to Real Madrid and was in dire need of a suitable replacement. It was for this reason that little-known Silva, who at that time was only 19, with practically no top flight experience, was brought to the Stade Louis II. Initially signed on loan, Silva later joined the club fully for £13m.

"Bernardo Silva is one of those talented young players around whom AS Monaco is keen to build its future," the French club’s vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, revealed in 2015.

"He has already shown our fans his potential this season, and it was important for us to hold on to the player.We would now like to see Bernardo continue his development as part of our high-quality squad here at AS Monaco."

And obviously, the enterprising midfielder has developed into one of the finest on the continent; such that Monaco can now get almost five times the amount they paid for his services.

Leonardo Jardim's effects

Silva's exceptional sojourn to France somewhat coincided with the arrival of his countryman, Leonardo Jardim, from Sporting. The gaffer took over the helms from Claudio Ranieri with a mission to transform the club into one of Europe's elites with relatively anonymous youngsters. And the 42-year-old has been able to achieve this in captivating fashion; showcasing extremely beautiful attacking football. Monaco is in pole position to clinch their first league title in almost 20 years and currently lead the log with 71 points, three more than serial winners, Paris Saint-Germain.

The Monégasques who have notched the most goals in Europe thus far have also progressed to the last-eight of the Champions League where they will face Borussia Dortmund. Jardim achieved all these with a vibrant and youthful team which has Silva as their number one henchman.

So what does Silva bring to the fore?

Modern day football is all about finding the right rhythm, mix and blend; and in achieving this, the right set of players are needed. But one from the bunch exceptionally stands out and shoulders the burden of the team - especially in attack. Incredibly, Silva has obviously been that player for the French Ligue 1 leaders thus far. The talismanic 22-year-old is adept at playing anywhere in attack but has predominantly been employed on the right by Jardim where he's given the leverage of drifting inwards.

Silva's biggest asset is his lightning pace, drive and exceptional dribbling skills. He also possesses poise, intelligence and a delightful left foot which he has used to great effect this season. No wonder he's always at the thick of things for Jardim's team. Since his move to the club, Silva has notched 22 goals in close to 90 appearances averaging about one strike in every four games.

This season alone, the 22-year-old has been involved in 13 league goals in just 26 starts and a further three in seven Champions League games. He has also created 45 glorious goalscoring opportunities for his teammates as well as tried 55 shots himself this term. Aside from his exceptional contribution towards goal, Silva is one of the best passers of the ball in Europe boasting an incredible 80% average pass accuracy.

It is for this reason that the youngster is already being compared to some of Europe's best stars. His teammate, Joao Moutinho, told Reuters.

“Messi, Eusebio, Cristiano Ronaldo, Maradona, Pele… They’re players who are and will remain in football history. I hope and believe that Bernardo has the quality to get close to that level.”

His numerous admirers will most likely ignore his defensive inadequacies which are the case with players with frail physique.

Interested clubs

The roll call of teams presently courting Silva is infinite. Among which are Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, German heavyweight, Bayern Munich as well as Premier League duo, Manchester United, and Chelsea. But the midfielder admitted that

"one day I would like to play in England or Spain, in one of the best leagues in the world, but for now I’m very happy here."

Monaco will certainly be crowned champions, but their biggest achievement could be keeping their talisman in the summer.

About the Author Toby

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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