PLAYER PROFILE: Bruno Fernandes’ career comes full circle

Posted: August 29, 2017 in Player Profiles, Portugal, Sporting Lisbon
Tags: , , , ,

Bruno Fernandes

Sporting midfielder Bruno Fernandes has earned his first call-up to the senior Seleção after a series of scintillating performances over the span of just eight days.

On 19 August, he scored twice in a 5-0 dismantling of Vitoria de Guimarães, both from 30 yards out, at least. The first went straight into the top corner. Mid-week, he set up two goals in Sporting’s 5-1 defeat of Steaua Bucharest, booking their place in the group stages of the Champions League, where he will play for the first time in his career.

The next day, Portugal manager Fernando Santos announced the squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against the Faroe Islands and Hungary. And Fernandes was noticeably absent. When asked about him, Santos said that the door was opened to him.

On Sunday, Fernandes followed up those performances by scoring another long-distance goal against Estoril, this time from a free-kick.

And that performance typified the kind of complete player he is. Fernandes registered two key passes, two crosses, eight ball recoveries and was fouled five times according to Portuguese statistics website GoalPoint. He also won 10 of his 16 duels. In addition to scoring the eventual winning goal, of course.

When Benfica midfielder Pizzi was forced to withdraw from the Portuguese squad because of an injury, Santos could not turn him down again. Not bad for a player who left Boavista’s academy at the age of 17 for Novara, a modest club in Italy, then in the second division no less. He helped them to promotion to Serie A in 2013.
That summer, he joined Udinese, before moving on to Sampdoria last summer.

In that time, he became a key figure for Portugal’s youth squads, most notably for Rui Jorge and the U21 squad, where he served as captain at this past summer’s European Championships. It was enough to convince Sporting CP to pay €8.5million to bring him back to Portugal. Now, it looks like a real bargain.

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