In the aftermath of a charity match between their respective sides, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernández and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola discussed Bernardo Silva’s feelings about Barcelona, and what it might take to get the Portuguese star to Catalunya.
On Wednesday night, more than 91,000 fans turned out at Barcelona’s Camp Nou for a charity match between two world football’s most star studded clubs, the locals, Barcelona, and Manchester City, each led in the dugout by a Barça legend. The purpose of the match was to raise money to fund research in the battle against ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease, as it’s known in the United States) at Luzón Foundation, in support of former Barcelona goalkeeper and coach Juan Carlos Unzue. Given the turnout, it’s safe to assume the evening was a success on that front. As an added bonus, the contest itself delivered just about everything a fan – Barça, City or neutral – could have hoped for.
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City open the scoring after 21 minutes, with the strike from Julian Alvarez. Barça quickly showed that they were up for the fight, equalizing eight minutes later, on a connection between Sergio Busquets and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. The score remained 1-1 for the remainder of the first half. The second half brought a lot of new faces into the pitch, as manager s Xavi and Pep Guardiola substituted fairly aggressively to manage their stars’ workloads, but the game’s intensity did not die down.
Xavi made his most impactful substitution in the 57 minute, when he replaced Aubameyang with Memphis Depay. After nine minutes of action, Memphis setup Frenkie de Jong to put Barça ahead 2-1. Four minutes later, the score was level again, as Cole Palmer struck for City. Nine minutes later, in the 79th, Memphis was on the other side of a goal, finishing off an assist from Sergi Roberto to put the Catalan giants up 3-2. The score line held, through the 90-minute mark and well into stoppage time, and seemed destined to go down as the final tally. However, with the clock creeping towards triple digits, Man City were awarded a penalty, which Riyad Mahrez converted in the 99th minute, to finish off the 3-3 draw.
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One big post-match talking point centered around a City player who was on the pitch for just one his side’s goals before getting subbed off in the 64th minute: 28-year-old maestro Bernardo Silva.
Though Barça have spent well into the nine figures to secure the services of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, while also bringing in Frank Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers, the Blaugrana feel that they must (and can!) continue adding meaningfully to their roster in order to return to the uppermost tier of the club game. In addition to the spectacular talents that have already come aboard, they’ve been linked all summer with Man City’s Portuguese playmaker.
And there have been suggestions that Guardiola would in fact allow him to depart his current club for the childhood club, provided the asking price (reportedly €80 million) is met. Despite the simplicity of the scenario, the assembled media in attendance were not about to miss an opportunity to ask both Silva’s current manager, as well as his, what, speculative possible future manager for some thoughts on a potential move for the player.
Guardiola emphasized that he thinks the world of Silva and his spectacular talent, but conceded that the player “likes Barcelona a lot”, before adding: “I’m no one to tell Barça to forget about Bernardo.
“We want him to stay with us, but I don’t want anyone who’s not happy. The first thing would be for the clubs to come to an agreement, but there has been no offer for him in these last two years.”