The discovery of yet another young talented footballer is perhaps one of the most common stories found in the back pages of Brazilian newspapers. Nothing big in it.
However, when a youngster in just his second season with the club’s first team becomes a key figure in leading a mid-table team’s revolution towards the top of the table in the process becoming a club favourite – he goes from being just a talented youngster to a wonder-kid. And the world starts to take notice. And the world has indeed taken notice of Bernard.
For those still unaware, Bernard Anício Caldeira Duarte or as he is popularly known by his Anglo-style name ‘Bernard’ plays for Atletico Mineiro in the Brasileirao. A product of the club’s own youth system, Bernard has been heavily instrumental in the meteoric rise of the club in the past two seasons, eventually becoming the Copa Libertadores champions.
|Date of birth:||08.09.1992|
|Place of birth:||Belo Horizonte|
|Position:||Midfield – Left Wing|
|Market value:||8.800.000 £|
|Player’s agent:||Souza de Paula Sportmanagement|
Anyone who sees Bernard in action for the first time will be surprised by his size. He is only 5’6″ in height and extremely light-weight, not exactly a ‘sports-person mould’. His diminutive frame means he attracts special attention from defenders and opponents in general tend to get a bit more physical with him.
But that is not the only problem he has faced due to his small frame. Twice, he was rejected by Atletico’s youth academy due to his small stature as it was perceived that he won’t have what it takes to make it in a professional league.
Fortunately, the academy’s directors didn’t agree with the technician’s view, finding Bernard’s skilled football too good to ignore. And thus at the age of 14, Bernard joined Atletico’s youth academy in 2006.
He spent four years at youth level and a season at Democrata Futebol Clube a club in the state championship – Campeonato Mineiro. which somewhat acts as a development side for Atletico Mineiro. He scored 14 goals in 16 appearances in his season-long tenure at Mineiro.
Aged just 18, he played his first match for the senior team, albeit out of position as a right back. Dorival Junior, who was then the manager sent him back to the youth squad and he played intermittently for the first team.
When new manager Cuca came in, he restored Bernard to the first team. Bernard eventually made 23 appearances for the first team in the 2011 season.
Bernard already impressive in the previous season started to really shine in the 2012 season. Missing only two matches in the entire 2012 Brasileirao, he went on to score 11 goals and further made 12 goals for others.
His alliance with Ronaldinho and Jo altered the Brasileirao landscape. Bernard also made his full international debut when he was called up by then Brazil coach Mano Menezes for the Superclásico de las Américas, a home-and-away set of friendlies against rivals Argentina in September 2012.