As Claudio Bravo pushed away the third Portugal penalty in Chile’s shootout win within the Confederations Cup on Wednesday, Manchester Metropolis followers discovered it exhausting to imagine that it was the identical goalkeeper whose weak wrists, poor footwork and insecurity value Pep Guardiola’s crew so many targets final season.
In fact, it must be remembered that not one in all Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani — who all did not convert their kicks — took an honest penalty, and as soon as Bravo had gone the proper method, it was a easy cease. Nevertheless, the straightforward stops proved troublesome for the Chilean at Metropolis final season, with a major variety of efforts that he may have stored out as an alternative discovering the online.
Clearly, Bravo hasn’t hit the degrees of which he is succesful over the previous 12 months. He is a greater goalkeeper than he has proven himself to be in his Metropolis profession to date, however that simply places extra strain on him to carry out properly when he returns to the Premier League in August. Guardiola can solely wait so lengthy for his goalkeeper to be prepared — particularly when he is an skilled 34-year-old with a number of titles and greater than 100 caps for the nation he captains.
The Chile worldwide’s relationship with the followers can also be problematic. Footballers usually have to be thick-skinned to dam out the taunts of opposition supporters, however when Bravo’s type acquired so poor halfway via final season, he needed to be impervious to the ironic jeers from his personal followers when he made a easy catch or save.
That sentiment seemingly will not have eased. His type on the Confederations Cup, whereas higher than for Metropolis, nonetheless hasn’t been that of a world-class goalkeeper and it will not assist his case that a whole lot of his membership’s followers will not know or will not care about it. They need to see him play properly domestically; what he does on worldwide responsibility makes little distinction. It is also true that three saves in a penalty shootout does not undo the entire errors he made and the insecurity he confirmed at Metropolis throughout his first season there.
Metropolis followers might have seen Willy Caballero do a U-turn from much-maligned back-up to first alternative after he’d saved three Liverpool penalties following the 1-1 draw within the 2016 League Cup remaining, however his redemption got here partly due to Joe Hart’s mortgage to Torino and Bravo’s inadequacies. Had Hart remained the membership’s No. 1 below Guardiola, there would have been far much less of a optimistic response to Caballero, though the Argentine worldwide’s performances did enhance following his heroics at Wembley.
Bravo does not have that going into 2017-18. He is nonetheless anticipated to be battling for his place as first alternative, with new £35 million signing Ederson nonetheless vastly inexperienced and unlikely to resolve the goalkeeping points instantly. It is price remembering that the 23-year-old solely broke into the Benfica crew in March 2016; whereas he has impressed, it is a whole lot of weight to placed on his shoulders, asking him to settle in a brand new league, new membership and new nation instantly. Put merely, it would not be a shock to see Bravo named because the starter for the journey to Brighton on the opening day of the season.
As Metropolis go about their summer time of making an attempt to repair the issues of final season — it is reported new full-backs are near being signed, with the likes of Dani Alves and Kyle Walker on the radar, whereas ending off possibilities may very well be a bit of simpler if the chase for Alexis Sanchez is profitable — the goalkeeping concern is unlikely to get a fast decision.
It is a unusual feeling for Metropolis followers, too. They’ve watched their crew battle defensively within the absence of Vincent Kompany for years however they at all times had the protection internet of a proficient goalkeeper behind the again 4. In fact, Hart has had his issues previously 18 months but it surely’s tough for the followers to let go of a participant who had gained the crew a whole lot of factors with glorious performances throughout his nine-year keep.
In Ederson, the membership might be hoping to have unearthed one other top-class performer who will be that rock in purpose for the years to come back. Nevertheless, he isn’t more likely to be that right away and questions on Guardiola’s decisions between the posts will not disappear any time quickly.
With Hart unlikely to be taking part in any position at Metropolis subsequent season, it’ll fall to Bravo to show his price. His nightmare 12 months is perhaps coming to the tip with an honest show for Chile, however there is a great distance for him to go if he will persuade his membership followers that he is anyplace close to as much as the duty.
David Mooney is ESPN FC’s Manchester Metropolis blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney