Bernardo: Why Brighton’s star man from Sao Paulo owes so much to Austria
Despite hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazilian defender Bernardo is feeling quite at home in the fresh mountain air of Salzburg during Brighton’s pre-season training camp.
Bernardo, 24, will face one of his former clubs on Saturday afternoon when Albion complete their Austrian training camp with a freindly match against FC Liefering - a feeder club for Austrian Bundesliga club Red Bull Salzburg.
“I used to play for Red Bull Brazil and then I came to Red Bull Salzburg,” said Bernardo, speaking to the club’s website. “For the first month, I couldn’t be registered for Salzburg, so they registered me for Liefering.
“I even played a game for them, an official game in the second division, so I know Liefering, they are a very good team. Salzburg have a very specific way to play football, always pressing.
“They have a really good scout system, they can really find players from all around the globe, so they are really difficult opponents.
“I know many people haven’t heard about Liefering, but most of the players that have played for Salzburg have already played for Liefering, so I am sure they have some really good, young talent.”
Bernardo has a very close connection to Austria and it is place that not only helped his professional career but also where he met his girlfriend.
“I lived here for seven or eight months when I played for Salzburg. My girlfriend is Austrian as well and her parents also live in Austria,” added Bernardo, who joined Brighton from Leipzig last summer for £9m.
“Almost every pre-season I have done until now has been in Austria, so it is very familiar territory.
“For me it was a very important step in my career to come to this country, I think it was a step that definitely changed my career.
“Salzburg gave me the possibility to play for qualification to the Champions League and to be champions and then to move to Leipzig and play on a very high level, so I am very grateful I had the chance to play here.
“After seven months I went to the Bundesliga, but I am really grateful and it was a really nice time in my life and my career.”