Kop Star: Issue 4: Gerardo Bruna (Midfielder)
Meet Gerardo Alfreda Bruna Blanco, a 17 year old lad born in Mendoza, Argentina, who only weeks before joining Liverpool was given a tag which would raise people expectations of him to a whole new level, “Madrid’s answer to Messi”.
Soon enough after been linked with him, a rather convincing photo of him pointing to Liverpool on an ‘Easyjet map of the world’ was almost a signed contract in itself. Using a loophole which took Owen and McMannaman to Madrid for a much lower fee, we returned the favour by capturing a player who was key to their setup and envisaged by Real as key to their future.
Michel, Real Madrid’s youth coach seemed to have forgotten that they have played around with us when it came to transfer negotiations however in the past when he made this comment regarding Brunas departure:
“I was surprised when he left, because he had been with us for three years and as soon as he was about to mature, Liverpool took him. In England, when they see one they like, they take him. They sign the player to a professional contract and put him in the reserve team, that does not play competitively. How many young players taken by Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal have actually played for their first team and how many have returned?”
Real Madrid were adamant that he was the new Messi, that he had some undoubted quality like no other in there Reserve side, although our in-house talent scout had something to say about that:
This Is Anfield’s Shervin comments:
Well, I think we all know about the ‘œnew Messi’ tag. Pretty exciting, no doubt about it, but, in all honesty, I personally think it has more to do with the fact that, like Messi, Gerardo left Argentina for Spain at a very early age than anything. So, from there, it was not much difficulty for the journos to think of a paper-selling title. However, when you take a close look at the two players’ styles of play, you have to admit there aren’t that many similarities. Personally, I would say he is more of a Silva than a Messi. More of an accurate left-foot than a quick left-foot if that means anything. That’s not to say he can’t get past his man from time to time, but you are unlikely to see him go on one of these long runs, Messi/ Maradona style. Instead, he’s much more of a pick-a-pass type of player and even if he hasn’t really showed it so far from open play, one who could have a few long range screamers in his locker.
GERARDO ALFREDO BRUNA BLANCO
Former clubs: Real Madrid
Birth Place: Mendoza, Argentina
Date of Birth: 21/01/1991
Height: 5ft 9
Weight: 9st 9
In 2007, the Argentine was named in World Soccer Magazines ‘Top 50 Young Players’ list. Infact he was 10th, not a bad feat to say the top 10 also included Alexandre Pato, Sergio AgÃ¼ero, and Bojan Krkic. He also joined the ranks of Liverpool players to have graced the list in the past 10 years, our on-loan keeper Mikolay Nihalov and Lucas, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Emiliano Insua, Ryan Babel and Nabil El Zhar. However, it must be taken into account that Le Tallec was once also featured in this list.
After a few substitute appearences in the Youth setup, it was obvious Bruna was a cut above for his age and found himself drafted into Ablett’s reserve side. The first few months at this level however saw him resigned only to substitute appearences, as his passing was innacurate, and when he tried to get past his man he either failed miserably at running into the correct space, or he was battered off the ball by the opposition. It was a slight worry for the players development, however his talent and natural ability prevailed. During the second half of the season, he proved his worth at a level above his age – scoring for the reserves twice on his full debut, and easing his way past the majority of his opponents on a weekly basis from then onwards. Bruna also opened the scoring from a free-kick against Wigan in the 3-0 4th round tie of the FA Senior Cup.
Although of joint Spanish and Argentine heritage, it is clear that Bruna learned his trade in Spain, being primarily highly technically proficient. This is best displayed in the weighting of his short passes along with his spectacular free-kick taking. He clearly has confidence in his technique too, as in difficult situations (i.e. around goal) he manages to keep his composure and rarely makes bad decisions.
The boys South American blood shows when he has the ball at his feet and is running at people, however; he has a very creative footballing mind, and likes to endeavour into his bag of tricks. Like all successful, skilful players, Gerardo has beautiful relationship with the football, flaunting this with an excellent first touch and subsequent close control.
In terms of his body, the seventeen year-old is not the strongest, and often struggles with the physicality of the English game (a factor which might have contributed toward his slight lack of form during his first season). Although, this is helped by his turn of pace, which, when combined with his creativity and on ball ability is enough to help him out of many sticky situations.
There is a lot that needs to be done before Gerardo Bruna is ready to grace the hallowed Anfield turf for the first team, nevertheless if his natural ability finds a means to further blossom and a continuing emphasis on physical training is enforced, the potential for another future KopStar is undoubtedly there.
Taking a look at his first year over here, I think it’s fair to say Gerardo had a bit of a ‘œLucas’ season. Really struggled with the pace of the game at first, often knocked off the ball and largely limited to late substitutes appearances, overall it couldn’t be said that he succeeded in living up to expectations, at least certainly not in the way Pacheco did.
So far in the 2008-09 season, Gerardo Bruna has put in some good performances for Ablett’s reserve side. He started off the season with a consolation goal again Peterborough United who turned over last years National Reserve League champions in a 4-1 friendly win. A week later he struck the back of the net and scored Liverpools only goal against Stockport County, but once more his solo efforts were of no use to the team as the game finished 1-1.
|Previous Kop Stars:
Issue 1: Lauri Dalla Valle
Issue 2: Krisztian Nemeth
Issue 3: Dani Pacheco
First team football with Liverpool for Bruna still looks a long way off though, because while he is talented far above his age, he still has the physical build of a 16 year old, and in the reserve league it is apparent this is what held him back in the first place. Ablett however will undoubtedly be working on building up his frame over the next year, and it would be very surprising if he didnt feature in a bench spot during the final run-in of the season, or at least thought of in the same light as Nemeth and Insua currently are enjoying.
I guess there’s always the main question of whether he will make it or not. Based on his showings so far, it’s very tough to say; at least I can’t say I’m as confident as as with Nemeth or Pacheco, but his latest performances may suggest that we are only just starting to see the Bruna Real were so furious to lose. Still, he will have to work on that weakness he has of being a bit slow to react to opposition players closing him down but I believe we will have a much better idea after this coming season, with Gary Ablett himself admitting Bruna should be a big player next season. It will probably be a bit longer with Gerardo than with Nemeth, Pacheco, Insua etc but hopefully, it will be worth the wait.
Earlier in the year Guillem Balague, a close friend of Benitez and auther of “A Season on the Brink”, a book about our emphatic Istanbul win in 2005 was asked if Bruna really compares to the likes of Messi and Maradona, or if this is simply just a fancy ‘For Sale’ sign Madrid had put on him to speed up his sale. Balague Replied:
“Bruna the new Messi? I laugh at those things. The new Messi – were talking about the best player in the world at the moment with some of the qualities that haven’t been matched ever. A big tag for Bruna to live up to. I’ve seen some videos of him – he is a short guy who is very mobile, very quick, runs with the ball well and who can become the new Messi, if you like, but more realistically the new Luis Garcia. But he is definitely useful for the kind of football that Liverpool practices. If he grows into the role and gets a little stronger he could be useful. He’s a talent who will develop at a club where he will feel important and with a club who know how to deal with youngsters. But I wouldn’t get too excited just yet.”
The opinions on Bruna vary, but wether he is tipped to be the next Garcia, Riquelme, Raul or Messi – the message everyone is sending out his clear, that he is a player who posseses great skill and talent, whoever he is likened to, and the chances are – he will be wearing a first team number in seasons to come.
With thanks to Aero, DanDagger, Mooki3, Shervin and Whocantucan.