'No chance' of swapping Champions League for Ballon d'Or, says Silva

By Sports Desk May 30, 2024

Bernardo Silva admits he prefers team awards over individual honours and would choose the Champions League over a Ballon d’Or if given the chance.

Silva was a key figure as Manchester City retained their Premier League title for an unprecedented fourth consecutive season, making 33 appearances in the competition.

The midfielder chipped in with six goals during their title charge, adding nine assists, while also scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup semi-final – a competition they ultimately lost to Manchester United.

Since joining City in July 2017, Silva has won 13 major honours, including six Premier League trophies, two FA Cups, a Champions League, and the Club World Cup.

The Portugal international was ranked the eighth-best men’s player of 2023, but when asked about the subject, he admitted that he does not rate individual awards as highly as those won by a team.

"Recognition is always nice," he told Sky Sports.

"In my opinion, I give the right amount of importance to these awards, because, at the end of the day, we are playing a collective sport. Nowadays, the individual awards always go to the strikers because they have that last touch.

"But if you understand the game, a person who is inside the game, either a player or a manager, you know how important it is to have a proper goalkeeper, a proper defender, a proper midfielder and a proper striker. Not just a proper striker.

"Strikers do not win you titles alone. The base comes from defence. If you defend well, you will attack better. When I look at individual awards and I see that only the guys who score goals win the awards, I feel a bit like it does not represent our sport that well.

"I always do my best to support my team-mates and do what is best for the team. In the end, winning the Champions League is much better than winning a Ballon d'Or. I would not swap it. No chance."

Silva’s attention now turns to Euro 2024 as Portugal aim to challenge for their second title in the competition.

The 29-year-old missed their success in 2016 due to injury, and he concedes there was a "mix of emotions" at seeing Portugal win their first major tournament while not being able to have an impact.

He said: "I was so frustrated before the competition for not going because I wanted to be a part of it. I did all the qualifying. It would have been my first big tournament, and I would have been there, but I got injured.

"But then, in the end, when they won it, I am Portuguese. Everyone was so happy; all my family, all my friends, everyone. So, it was a mix of frustration for not being there but also being very happy because it was our first big title as a country."

However, Silva is up for the challenge of competing in the 2024 edition.

"You are representing your whole country, your family and friends. We are all human. You are going to feel [the pressure] more. Playing for Portugal is always a bit different and special," he added.

"If you love the game, you want to do it well. And if you want to do something well, you feel that responsibility. That is why you feel pressure. In a way, that pressure is a good thing. It is your mind and your body telling you that you want this.

"It is up to you to try to control these emotions."

Portugal begin their Euro 2024 campaign in Group F against the Czech Republic on June 18.

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