‘For me to fight for the title in the place I was born and grew up would mean a lot’: Bernardo Silva dreams of winning Champions League for Manchester City in his home of Lisbon
- UEFA have decided to host the rest of the Champions League in Portugal
- The final will be held in Lisbon where Bernardo Silva was born and grew up
- Manchester City’s attacking midfielder hopes to win the trophy in his home city
Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been lifted by the opportunity of winning the Champions League in his home city of Lisbon.
Bernardo hasn’t shown the same form this season that saw him shortlisted for PFA Player of the Year in City’s title win in 2018/19. But UEFA’s decision to hold the latter stages of the Champions League in Portugal in August has given him a new incentive to finish strongly.
‘Personally, it’s an extra motivation,’ admits Bernardo, who started his career with Benfica before progressing his career with Monaco where he reached the CL semi-finals, knocking City out along the way.
Bernardo Silva dreams of winning the Champions League for the first time in his home Lisbon
‘It is a special competition and it’s going to be a unique event played in my home city. For me to fight for the title in the place I was born and grew up would mean a lot.
‘It would be so, so special, even more because I missed the Euros four years ago when Portugal won the trophy and I was hoping to play in this summer’s Euro 2020 before the pandemic.’
City won the first leg of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid 2-1 in the Bernabeu before football’s lockdown. Provided they get through the second leg, they will join seven other quarter-finalists in Lisbon to complete the competition in a special tournament with the final set for August 23.
The final was originally scheduled to take place in Istanbul and could represent City’s last chance for a while of winning Europe’s premier club trophy with the club currently appealing a two-year ban that starts next season for breaching UEFA FFP rules, with a decision expected in July.
Before then, 25-year-old Bernardo will hope to reclaim a starting place against Burnley on Monday having been used as a substitute when City returned to action by beating Arsenal 3-0 on Wednesday night.
He spent most of the lockdown with his family in Portugal where lockdown rules were less strict which enabled him to go running and on bike rides to maintain fitness.
Manchester City are hoping to add more trophies to their Carabao Cup victory this season
City trail leaders Liverpool by 22 points but still want to make Jurgen Klopp’s side earn the title by winning their own games.
There is also added history between Bernardo and Burnley boss Sean Dyche who accused the midfielder of diving to win a penalty against his side in 2017.
‘Burnley is always a physical fight. We know the way they play,’ says the Portugal international.
Silva’s City look to have lost their Premier League crown with Liverpool needing two victories
‘We don’t know if our players will be a bit tired after the Arsenal game or how fit Burnley will be, so the game is a little bit different this time.
‘We played at a very good level on Wednesday night and hopefully we can do that again.
‘It was weird because the only thing you could hear in an empty stadium was what Pep (Guardiola) and Mikel (Arteta) were shouting. You could hear every word.
Silva hasn’t shown the same form as last season but hopes to end the campaign on a high
‘When you are playing with 50,000 fans you can pretend that you haven’t heard what the manager is saying to you!
‘Now it’s impossible. It’s a different reality but we understand the circumstances. It’s good to be back playing and we will have to get used to that atmosphere and do our best.’
Manchester City have launched www.cityzensgiving.org to help communities get back on their feet with Etihad donating the front of shirt space to promote the campaign