Bernard thriving at Everton after playing in war-torn Ukraine and carrying can for Brazil’s World Cup humiliation
After carrying the can for Brazil’s World Cup humiliation and then being forced to play in war-torn Ukraine, Everton new boy Bernard is looking forward to doing what he does best.
The fleet-footed 26-year-old playmaker was compared to Neymar when he was helping a Ronaldinho-inspired Atletico Minero win South America’s equivalent of the Champions League in 2013.
But when a move to Porto collapsed, a £22million switch to Shakhtar Donetsk turned into a nightmare.
Civil war broke out in the Donbass region and the club were forced to play home games 800 miles away in Lviv.
That was also the summer Bernard replaced the injured Neymar in Brazil’s team to face Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.
ing the World Cup humiliation(Image: Getty)
The hosts were hammered 7-1 in his hometown of Belo Horizonte – and he hasn’t played for his country since.
“It would be easy for me to talk about injustice but the reality is that different coaches have different ideas, so I am only thinking about playing well for Everton,” said Bernard.
“The last few years have been a very difficult time, with what happened at the World Cup and returning to Shakhtar when there was a war.”
Bernard found blockades in cities, with cars searched for bombs and weapons.
He was living with his parents in Donetsk when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 flew overhead and was shot down, claiming the lives of 298 passengers and crew.
“I was very young and it was hard. Was I scared? Yes, there is no doubt about that,” he admitted.
Merseyside is a world away for Bernard, who arrived in the summer after his contract expired.
Bernard, who will be in Everton’s team to face Crystal Palace, revealed: “I have always faced prejudice about my height and physique.
“I’ve always followed my dad’s advice – that, to overcome any problems of height and physical issues that I might come across, I must use my technical qualities.
“I would love to get back into Brazil’s national team.
“But to do that I must play well – and so my focus is on helping Everton win games and, hopefully, trophies.
(Image: Getty Images)