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'He's in the Premier League's top three players' - Guardiola expresses love for 'Portugal's biggest star' Bernardo

21:32 GMT+3 19/02/2019
Bernardo Silva Manchester City 01122018
The midfielder has emerged as one of his club's best players this season and his manager claims he is the top man for his country as well

Pep Guardiola believes Bernardo Silva is one of the Premier League’s top three players this season, and thinks he’s the “big star” on Portugal.

Bernardo made the £43 million ($57m) move from Monaco to Manchester City in the summer 0f 2017 and enjoyed a strong debut season at the Etihad Stadium.

He scored six goals and added four assists in 35 Premier League games, making 15 starts, as he made his contribution toward Man City’s historic league title win.

But Bernardo’s second season has been even better, as he’s already scored five goals and added six assists in the Premier League, and has started 23 games this term in the English top flight.

The midfielder has been influential at times when his club have needed him, with arguably a man-of-the-match performance in Man City’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in January.

Bernardo also featured for Portugal in the World Cup in Russia and is one of the most promising players on the squad that finished top of their group in UEFA Nations League A.

And when asked if he thought Bernardo was the next big star on Portugal, Guardiola responded with high praise, saying: "He is the big star already.”

While that may raise a few eyebrows among a squad that also boasts Cristiano Ronaldo, the manager did not stop there with his praise.

Guardiola explained he believes Bernardo has emerged as one of the best players featuring in England and is grateful to have him in his squad.

"He has absolutely everything. First because he's a lovely person, I love to work with him, especially because he never makes a bad face if he doesn’t play, or plays five, 10 or 20 minutes like last season, always a big smile.

"In the locker room he's the guy who's the most beloved in our team, and his skills… he can do absolutely everything, he's one of the most talented players I've ever seen in my career as a manager or a player.

“He’s a humble guy, he can play three of four positions. He’s always an eight or nine (out of 10). He knows when he doesn't play good it doesn't matter because he runs the most.

“You cannot play every three days at the top level but you can run and run and run, and he does.

"I think maybe this season he's one of the two or three best players in the Premier League because of the amount of minutes he plays and what he produces, with the ball in assists, goals, how he celebrates the goals…you have to take a look at how he celebrates the goals, whether he scores or his team-mates.

"He's a joy. As a manager I'm an incredibly lucky guy to have Bernardo in my hands and enjoy him in every training session and every single game.

"Portugal are fortunate to have him. He's a lovely guy. I love him."

Bernardo, who has added two Champions League goals this season, will look to bolster his total on Wednesday when Manchester City visit Schalke in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.

Then on Sunday, City will look add yet another piece of silverware as they aim to defend the Carabao Cup in the final against Chelsea.