Bravo return will prevent potential dilemma for City
CLAUDIO Bravo’s video of himself working on a cross-trainer could yet prove to be of great importance to City’s season.
The Blues’ second-choice keeper was initially ruled out until virtually the end of the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
And there were reports in Chile last week that he had suffered an infection in the wound following surgery in Barcelona, which would not only rule him out of the season, but also of the Copa America this summer.
Bravo reacted to those reports – which were quickly denied by City – by publishing a video of himself working out on a cross trainer.
He accompanied the video with a message thanking ‘all the people who have been by my side in my recovery, and all those that day by day radiate affection and good vibes.’
He then adds: “Preparing for what’s coming: Manchester City and Copa America”.
That hints that he intends to be back before the end of the season, although his current Blues deal still has another season to run.
Some City fans reacted to the video with dark humour, suggesting his return would be a bad thing.
Apart from the lack of respect for a player who has won the Champions League and three league titles with Barcelona and City, as well as 119 international caps, the jibes are well wide of the mark.
In fact, Bravo’s return to the squad could prove vital to City’s trophy hopes this season.
Aro Muric has been handed a premature elevation to number two keeper – and while he has done well enough in League Cup games this season, City are praying that nothing happens to Ederson.
If it did, the Blues might be forced to apply for emergency dispensation to bring in a goalkeeper, as they did in 2011 when Shay Given, Stuart Taylor and David Gonzalez were all injured and Joe Hart was on loan at Birmingham.
Muric has great potential, but the prospect of throwing him in at the sharp end of the Premier League and Champions League scraps would give Guardiola the shudders.
The City boss will face a big decision as to whether to stick with Muric in the Carabao Cup final next month – the fact that he drafted in Ederson for last week’s FA Cup tie against Rotherham suggests he is not convinced the 20-year-old is ready for such a big game.
Much has been made of the fact the Blues will face a dilemma if they lose Fernandinho for any length of time in the second half of the season.
But goalkeeper is the only position where the prospect of losing the firstchoice would create an even more acute problem.
Bravo received some stick in his debut season but, as he has pointed out, no-one in the City defence covered themselves in glory as they adapted to Guardiola’s system.
While traumatised defenders like John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi got a second chance and thrived in the second season, Bravo found himself playing second fiddle behind new £35m arrival Ederson. He went a long way to repairing the faith of the support with his displays in the League Cup, not least being the hero in two penalty shootouts as the Blues won the competition.
He also showed his abilities in open play, not least in a man of the match display against a dangerous Wolves side.
If anything happens to Ederson, he would, without doubt, be ahead of Muric in Guardiola’s preferences.
Claudio Bravo could return to action this season