The number 10 position in football is known as the playmaker. He is the one who sets the attack, who delivers crucial passes and makes the transitions from defence to attack. However, in Sporting Clube de Portugal there is a number 10, who plays with the number 8 shirt, but who is much more than that. Bruno Fernandes is a player that delivers every single game, produces quality passes, scores goals, stunning free kicks and who is, at the moment, the only sight of joy for the disappointed fans of the Lisbon team. One thing is for sure, at the end of this article you will be more than convinced that Bruno can be a great signing for any team.
Let’s start from the beginning. Born in a small town near Porto, Bruno didn’t choose to play for Portuguese giants F.C. Porto and instead rose through the academy of the second biggest club of the city Boavista.
In 2012, at 18 years of age, Bruno decided to complete his formation in Italy and changed to Serie B side Novara, where he was almost immediately called to the main team. During that season, Bruno scored 4 goals, helping his team finishing fifth and securing a place in the play-offs. In the following summer, he changed to Serie A, signing for Udinese.
He scored his first goal in the Italian league at the 7th of December of 2013, on a 3-3 draw against Napoli. During 3 seasons at Udine, Bruno made 95 appearances, scoring 11 goals and contributing also with 13 assists. Later, in 2016, he joined Sampdoria, where he spent one year, netting another 5 goals, in 35 appearances, with 3 assists to his name too.
His consistent performances caught the attention of the Portuguese teams Porto and Sporting. Allegedly Porto were on the verge of signing Bruno before his deal with Sampdoria, but were the Lisbon rivals who sealed the deal in the next summer transfer window paying 8,5million to the Italians for the midfielder. The team, who were coached by Jorge Jesus, were looking to sign someone to feed the Dutch goal poacher Bas Dost.
However, they got way more than what they paid for. In his first five games in the Portuguese league, Bruno scored 4 goals. He also made his Champions League debut for the “Lions”, scoring a goal in a 3-2 win over Olympiakos. On total during his 56 appearances in the 2017/2018 season he got 16 goals to his name and 20 assists, helping his team to reach the quarter finals of Europa League where they would eventually fall under the hands of eventual winners Atletico de Madrid.
Following that defeat in Europa League, adding a third-place finish and a consequent miss on a Champions League spot, things turned unexpectedly sour for Bruno and his teammates. In a sudden turn of events, the whole team of Sporting, including players, coaches and staff, were attacked by around 50 “casuals” and the astonishing indifference from club’s president Bruno de Carvalho towards this situation, made Fernandes and most of his colleagues show willingness to leave the club.
Rui Patrício, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins and coach Jorge Jesus were among the members who left the squad after the incident, but Bruno Fernandes decided to stay. The departure of president Bruno de Carvalho and an improvement on his contract, stating a €100 million release clause, might have been some of the reasons that made him change his mind.
We are sure Sporting doesn’t regret the investment they made on the Portuguese midfielder. Bruno stepped up his game and even with the team underperforming severely he keeps scoring and assisting, achieving impressive individual numbers in midseason. Even though Sporting his in the 4th place in the league and has been eliminated from Europa League, Bruno is having the best season of his career, having already improved his goal record from last season.
At the moment, Bruno Fernandes registers 22 goals and 11 assists in just 39 games, insane numbers for a player who doesn’t even play in an attacking position. His resume also shows that he gets 2.8 shots on target per game, more than most players on his position like Ozil (0.6), Eriksen (2.2), Hazard (2.5) or Pogba (2.7). Bruno’s attacking weight on his team is 41%, achieving 2.4 key passes per game, which makes him more pivotal than any other Sporting player.
Defensively he doesn’t hold a bad record either, with 1.7 tackles per game, more than players like Ilkay Gundogan (0.8), Ross Barkley (0.7), Ivan Rakitic (1.1) and even superior to Ballon D’or winner Luka Modric (1.5).
While you can argue that Bruno could struggle on a league where he doesn’t get as much space as in the Portuguese league, it shouldn’t be forgotten that he already spent numerous seasons in Serie A and his form has just improved year after year. The number 8 of Sporting has admitted his love for the club, but also confessed that he is hungry for higher flights and both Merseyside teams, Liverpool and Everton, have showed interest in the player.
At 24 years of age, Bruno definitely has proven that has quality enough for achieving a big move next summer. But who do you think would profit from adding a player like Fernandes to their squad?