Kevin de Bruyne has been stuck on the injury table this year and David Silva is approaching the end of his career at the top at the age of 33. However, Manchester City know that their midfield is safe at the gifted feet of Bernardo Silva, a young man who has developed into one of the elite midfielders in world football.
At just 24-years-old, Silva has come on in leaps and bounds this season, surpassing his teammates to become the key man in Pep Guardiola’s midfield. For his country, he has taken up the same role and is now the key creative force tasked with supplying Cristiano Ronaldo. That system worked perfectly over the past week as Silva picked up the Player of the Tournament award for Portugal as they won the inaugural Nations League tournament that to their midfield magician.
The trophy made it a remarkable five-fold in terms of trophies for the 24-year-old this season after he won the domestic treble and the Charity Shield with Man City. It was a remarkably successful campaign for Guardiola’s side but fans could have been forgiven for feeling slightly wary when De Bruyne, their player of the year from 2017-18, was ruled out for several months at the start of the season.
However, Silva filled that central role incredibly well in City’s high-pressing and attack-minded system. His pace and skill on the ball often meant he could beat his man in the middle before feeding the ball to his teammates leading to him recording 13 goals and 14 assists across all competitions last term.
He has certainly grown as a player since his debut in 2013 for Benfica’s B side, but he is a serial winner, and has tasted success at every club he has been at. Benfica won the domestic treble as he broke through into the first team before he moved to Monaco for £14m that summer.
It may have looked like a big fee for a player with such little first-team experience but the French side knew the talent and potential that they were picking up. The Portuguese played on the right wing for the star-studded Monaco side that shocked PSG to win the Ligue 1 title in 2016-17 under Leonardo Jardim, linking up with Kylian Mbappe in devastating fashion.
Although City may never get to see that duo combine, he has been their best purchase since appointing Guardiola as manager, and that is some statement given the quality of player that he has brought to the club. Although the Champions League still evades them, City are one of the finest sides in world football, and Bernardo Silva may now just be their most talented and pivotal player.