The Champions League is the pinnacle of club football and Man City’s Bernardo Silva just made the competition his own personal playground after a filthy dribble against Bayern Munich.
The German champions are renowned for their defensive sturdiness. After all, this is a team who have only conceded 29 league goals this season, the fewest in the Bundesliga.
Thomas Tuchel knows how to get one over on Pep Guardiola too, but Silva took things into his own hands on the night and starred in an emphatic 3-0 victory.
This game was Silva at his dominating best. It was like the 28-year-old had been injected with a bucket of adrenaline before the match, he was absolutely everywhere on the night.
He won 12 ground duels and made eight tackles, more than any other player in the game. His true moment of genius came in the second half though as he left three Bayern players for dead.
Silva’s first unsuspecting victim was Alphonso Davies on the left-hand side before he then sent Leon Goretzka for an early shower as he raced into the box.
The third nutmeg was just taking the mick at this point. Davies had managed to get back into position, only for Silva to absolutely rinse him again.
Bayern Munich’s backline are now bound to have nightmares about Silva for the next fortnight. Even Lionel Messi would have been proud of this run.
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Silva’s individual brilliance was a reminder of just how good he can be, especially in the big game. Guardiola was quick to laud his impact after the games.
“Bernardo is a football player,” Guardiola told the club website.
“What does it mean? He will play everywhere, every position, even left back, everywhere because he understands the game in every action Bernardo has the ability to read the game.
“But Bernardo is such an important player, especially in these type of games, he can play holding midfield, he can play false nine. We need this type of player. And lately he has scored a lot of goals. Always he lacked that a little bit.
“He is a player if you say play in this position, you don’t have to say anything else, he understands everything. Understands everything. From my point of view, I was lucky as a manager to have incredible, outstanding players at Barcelona and Munich.
“He is one of the best players I ever trained in my life. Ever. He is something special, a special football player.”
Silva has five goals and six assists to show for this season so far, but his ingenuity can’t be boiled down to goal contributions. A master of the intangibles, the Portuguese playmaker is truly one of a kind.
If Guardiola’s side do go all the way in Europe this season, Silva will have a huge role to play. We’ll be watching that triple nutmeg back for the next month now.
By Ben Stewart