Champions League winner endorses Celtic star as Parkhead transfer optimism soars through key connection
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Former Portuguese footballer and Champions League winner César Peixoto has been waxing lyrical about the talents of Celtic loanee Paulo Bernardo.
Bernardo joined Celtic this summer on a season long loan deal from Portuguese giants Benfica. The 22-year-old has made a total of 18 appearances in all competitions this season and registered two goals and two assists in the first half of the season for the league leaders.
The Portuguese U21 international is a product of the distinguished Benfica academy and has made 17 appearances for the first team since making his debut in 2021. He enjoyed a brief loan spell away from the Portuguese capital last season with Pacos de Ferreira where he was managed by Peixoto.
During that spell he made 13 league appearances and also registered two goals and two assists. Peixito claims to have had a credit in Bernardo’s revolution over the last year, but claims he has elevated his game to a new level since making the move to Glasgow.
Describing the player’s talents he told Portuguese newspaper A Bola (via Sports Witness): “Paulo was already an intelligent player, tactically developed, technically very strong, but he was also a player without acceleration or deceleration, without a change of speed, without the ideal reaction to losing the ball.”
“I spoke to him about it and he immediately showed a willingness to work, realised it was important and evolved because he also wanted to evolve. And he changed his speed, he changed his reaction to losing the ball for the better, playing with much more aggression in duels with his opponents. These are things that players in big teams need.
“He left Paços de Ferreira much stronger from a psychological point of view, more of a player, more of a man, more experienced, more combative, more mature, more confident, stronger than when he arrived.”
He went on to discuss the player’s move to Celtic, claiming it was the perfect move for the player at this stage in his career.
He added: “It was important to go to a team where he could play. Although he’s young, he’s not immature, he’s got quality and experience, he’s at a very high level and he’s succeeding.”
Bernardo’s loan deal with the Hoops does not include an option to buy, but given Celtic’s strong relationship with Benfica it is speculated by A Bola that there is strong optimism that a deal can be reached. Celtic had previously signed Jota from Benfica after a season long loan. The deal proved to be beneficial for both parties and just 12 months later he completed a blockbuster £25m move to Al-Ittihad.