Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has admitted he would like to play for Benfica once more before he retires.
The Portuguese star came through the ranks at the Lisbon club but only made three substitute appearances for the senior side before moving on to Monaco.
Bernardo Silva’s dream Benfica return: Five things to know…
- Bernardo Silva spent 12 years at Benfica, first joining as a seven-year-old.
- The Portuguese midfielder managed just three appearances for his boyhood team.
- Silva then moved to Monaco in 2014, spending three years with the French club.
- The 25-year-old is now a key member of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side.
- But Silva has admitted he would like to return to Benfica before he retires.
He spent three seasons with the principality club, helping them to win Ligue 1 and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Silva’s performances earned him a move to Manchester City in 2017 and the Portuguese midfielder has become a key player for Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions so far.
But, like many players have done over the years, Silva dreams of returning to his boyhood club before retiring.
“I always said I need to fill a gap I still have, because I never played for Benfica,” he told the BBC’s Football Daily Podcast.
“It’s my club, one day I’ll do it.
“When you’re a kid and you always dream of playing for team and then you get there and you can’t do it, of course it hurts.
“But if I think a little bit more, it was the right decision, it was the best for both parties because the manager wasn’t counting on me and I needed to play on a good level, so it was good for both.
“One day I want to play in that stadium for my team because I’ve only played in that stadium for the national team, for Portugal, never for Benfica and one day I want to do it for Benfica.”
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Bernardo explains where it went wrong at Benfica
Playing for the team you support is every young child’s dream, whether they are just playing in the park or aiming to make it at a professional footballer.
But for some of those who do get into the academies of their dream clubs, things don’t always go as expected.
For Bernardo Silva, whose family are split down the middle between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon fans, choosing to leave his team was a difficult one.
“I’m a Benfica fan but my mum’s side support Sporting Lisbon and my dad’s family support Benfica,” he added.
“Benfica is the best club in Portugal and I spent 12 years there. When I turned seven, my grandfather and my mum paid for me to join Benfica’s academy for two months as a birthday present. After those two months, I did not have to pay because I was selected for the next level.
“That was done by my grandfather, who was a Sporting fan. He knew I was a huge Benfica fan and he knew I wanted to play, so I’m very grateful.
“When I was about 15, Rui Costa was playing his last game and I was a ball boy. He plays in my position and he is one of the best midfielders Portugal has known. He was a big inspiration for me as one of my idols.
“I played three senior games and then I had to move to Monaco because Benfica wanted me to go back to the B team. It was difficult to move but I had to do it.
“My dream from seven to 19 was always to play for the first team at Benfica. When I arrived in the first team, I started noticing they did not count on me and I was moved to left-back.”