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Bernard Duarte 20

Everton made exciting Brazilian attacking midfielder Bernard their third major signing of the summer of 2018 when he put pen to paper on a four-year contract on transfer deadline day that August.

The 25-year-old signed a four-year contract with the Blues after electing not to extend his stay with Ukrainian Premier League champions, Shakhtar Donetsk. He joined compatriot Richarlison at Goodison Park after the latter's £40m move from Watford the previous month as one of six new signings made by Marco Silva and Marcel Brands during their first summer at the club.

"I chose Everton because of all the things I had heard about Marco Silva and after speaking to him I was happy with what he said to me,” Bernard told evertontv after completing the deal. “The manager made me feel confident about playing here. He is a very good coach and he has achieved really good things at other clubs."

The diminutive midfielder who hails from Belo Horizonte had to work his way back to a level of critical acclaim after a fairly middling first season in the Ukrainian league and the taint of Brazil's humiliation at the hands of Germany at the World Cup in 2014. Bernard was in the line-up that lost 7-1 in that the semi-final because of an injury to Neymar but he subsequently lost his place in the national side.

Originally signed by Shakhtar from Atlético Mineiro for €25m as a replacement for Borussia Dortmund-bound Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2013, Bernard only managed to chip in with a couple of goals and seven assists in his first season but he was, nevertheless, selected by Luiz Felipe Scolari for the 2014 World Cup.

In the interim, despite the reduced competitiveness of the league in Ukraine, where war and bankruptcies had whittled the field down to just a dozen teams, and a change in manager two years ago that saw Paulo Fonseca replace the successful Mircea Lucescu, Bernard eventually found his feet again.

Under Fonseca's system, the inventive attacking midfielder flourished in a freer role behind the forwards and he was a vital member of the Donetsk team that made it out of the group stages last season and played some memorable matches against the likes of Manchester City against whom Bernard scored with a beautiful curling strike from the edge of the area.

With his contract winding down and an offer of new terms unable to tempt him into staying at Shakhtar, a number of top-tier European clubs were credited with serious interest in acquiring him on a free transfer this summer. Both Milan clubs, Napoli, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Chelsea were all said to have made contact but it was Everton who made their move to bring Bernard to the Premier League.

Having not played a competitive game since picking an inury in March 2018 and then having to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League, Bernard took time to find his feet in England but very quickly showed Evertonians the kind of fleet-footed and quick-thinking skills he possessed. He marked his first start with great work down the left to create a goal for Richarlison in away game at Leicester in October that would mark Silva's first away from Goodison Park and scored his first goal in an FA Cup tie against Lincoln City the following January.

Though he wasn't always consistent and he struggled as much as anyone during the Blues' winter collapse between early December and mid-February, there was a clear arc of improvement to the Brazilian's game over the course of the season. Vital to Silva's quick transitions and counter-attacks, Bernard displayed a tenacity and physicality that belied his comparatively small frame and while it didn't always translate into assists, he would finish his first season at the club as one of the highest chance-creators even if there was a recgonised need to add goals to his game.

FactFile

Squad number 20
Position Attacking Midfield
Nationality Brazil
Born Belo Horizonte
Date of birth 8 September 1992
Height 5'-5"
Joined 9 August 2018
Joined from Shakhtar Donetsk
Signed under Marco Silva
Transfer fee Free Transfer
Contract duration 4 years
Contract expires June 2022
Full debut v
Previous Clubs Shakhtar Donetsk
Democrata (loan)
Atletico Mineiro
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Everton Career

Season Squad Number League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2018-19 20 25 (9) 1 2 (0) 1 27 (9) 2
  Totals 25 (9) 1 2 (0) 1 27 (9) 2


Previous Career

Season Team League Apps League Goals Cup Apps Cup Goals
2013-18 Shakhtar Donetsk 96 14 61 16
2011-13 Atletico Mineiro 62 12 11 4



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