The Football Association (FA) will investigate a tweet Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva sent to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

Bernardo Silva tweeted a photo of Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been condemned for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?"

Mendy did not appear to take offence, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see", but other Twitter users were quick to point out the racist implications of Bernardo Silva's post.

The Portugal international deleted the entry before commenting: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…"

However, the FA will look into the tweet and the City midfielder could face punishment.

Bernardo Silva's post came less than 24 hours after he scored a hat-trick in City's 8-0 victory over Watford, which saw Mendy make his first Premier League start since April.

Bernardo Silva claimed his tweet to Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy that prompted accusations of racism was "a joke" as he bemoaned the response it received on social media.

The Portugal international tweeted a photo of Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been condemned for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?"

Mendy did not appear to take offence, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see", but responses from members of the public were quick to point out the racist implications of Bernardo Silva's post.

The tweet came less than 24 hours after Bernardo Silva scored a hat-trick in City's 8-0 victory over Watford, which saw Mendy make his first Premier League start since April.

Bernardo Silva deleted it before commenting: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…"

The controversy comes during a week that representatives from the Premier League, the EFL and the FA met with Twitter to discuss the racist abuse that players including Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Yakou Meite suffered in recent months.

Kevin De Bruyne dazzled and Bernardo Silva hit a hat-trick as Manchester City put Watford to the sword 8-0 on Saturday.

The victory is City's biggest in a top-flight match – a fitting landmark to reach on the weekend the club marked their 125th anniversary.

But huge winning margins have become something approaching the norm in the Pep Guardiola era, with this latest rout the 11th time in all competitions since the start of the 2017-18 campaign City have scored six or more in a match. Six of those have come in 2019 alone.

From lower-league cup opponents unfortunately out of their depth to Champions League rivals and European trophy winners, a variety of clubs have felt City's wrath.

Spare a thought for Watford, who account for three entries on the list below – including last season's FA Cup final.

Six of the best, seventh heaven and more – City's big wins under Guardiola

2017-18

Watford 0-6 Manchester City (Premier League, 16/09/17)
Manchester City 7-2 Stoke City (Premier League, 14/10/17)

2018-19

Manchester City 6 -1 Huddersfield (Premier League, 19/08/18)
Manchester City 6-1 Southampton (Premier League, 04/11/18) 
Manchester City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League, 07/11/18) 
Manchester City 7-0 Rotherham United (FA Cup, 06/01/19) 
Manchester City 9-0 Burton Albion (EFL Cup, 09/01/19) 
Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (Premier League, 10/02/19)
Manchester City 7-0 Schalke (Champions League, 12/03/19)
Manchester City 6-0 Watford (FA Cup final, 18/05/2019)

2019-20

Manchester City 8-0 Watford (Premier League, 21/09/2019)

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City's players have nothing to prove after they returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a record 8-0 win over Watford on Saturday.

The reigning champions slipped to a shock defeat at Norwich City last weekend but were in sumptuous form against the Hornets, racing into a five-goal lead inside the opening 18 minutes.

Three more goals in the second half gave City their biggest ever top-flight win as they closed the gap to leaders Liverpool to two points, although Jurgen Klopp's side do have a game in hand.

Some questioned City's ability to win a third consecutive title after the defeat at Carrow Road, but Guardiola believes there has been an overreaction to that loss.

He told BBC's Match of the Day: "Do you think after what these guys have done for two seasons they have to prove something?

"We listened after Norwich, but people don't understand that we can lose games. Sometimes I am surprised that former players and pundits still don't understand that."

Bernardo Silva struck the first top-flight hat-trick of his career in the win and Guardiola was full of praise for the man he describes as last season's stand-out performer.

"Bernardo was the best player last season," he added. "He was extraordinary. I don't think he needs to score three goals to get the credit he deserves."

Watford, meanwhile, remain bottom of the league with just two points from their opening six games.

Quique Sanchez Flores, who returned to the club for a second spell ahead of last weekend's draw with Arsenal, attributed the heavy loss to a litany of errors from his side.

"We made a lot of mistakes," he said. "The result is very difficult [to take], but it's the consequences of mistakes in different ways. All the goals we conceded came from different things and it's difficult to play like this against Manchester City.

"We will take the best things from the Arsenal game and try to solve all the things from this game."

Hat-trick hero Bernardo Silva described the opening half-hour of Manchester City's record 8-0 win over Watford as "unbelievable".

After last weekend's shock defeat to Norwich City, Pep Guardiola's side returned to winning ways in the Premier League in spectacular fashion, registering their biggest ever top-flight victory.

David Silva got them on their way after 52 seconds before a Sergio Aguero penalty and goals from Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi put the game out of the sight by the midway point of the first half.

Silva completed the first top-flight hat-trick of his career in the second period before Kevin De Bruyne added an eighth five minutes from time.

Portugal international Silva was in awe of his side's performance and admits he did have some sympathy for Watford's players at the end.

"We were unbelievable in the first 30 minutes, scored lots of goals and had control," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "After the Norwich defeat, it was great to give our fans the result and the performance.

"We aimed to keep it going in the second half. We didn't want them to hurt us or score past us.

"Football is a hard game. I've won 8-0 today but I've lost plenty of times by four or five goals. You just have to keep going so I wished the Watford players well."

De Bruyne was in imperious form and Silva is in doubt about the Belgian's qualities.

"Kevin is a fantastic player," he added. "Everyone knows how good he is when he is fit. When he is playing like today, he is one of the best players in the Premier League."

The good news for Watford is, in the league at least, they do not have to face Manchester City again until next May.

The 6-0 defeat against Pep Guardiola's side in last season's FA Cup final was a truly humbling experience but, frankly, it almost looked respectable by comparison when City scored their fifth inside the opening 18 minutes on Saturday, on the way to an 8-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Records were set and Bernardo Silva went home with the matchball after grabbing a hat-trick on an afternoon when City celebrated their 125th anniversary.

City have seen few football games quite like this one when, in truth, things could have been even worse for poor Watford.

Here is how the game unfolded:

0:52 – Watford's task quickly became one of the steeply uphill variety when David Silva was on hand to convert a delightful Kevin De Bruyne cross from close range to make it 1-0 inside a minute. City's opener is the quickest goal scored in the Premier League this season.

3:29 – If such a contest can have a 'Sliding Doors' moment, this was it. Gerard Deulofeu embarrassed Nicolas Otamendi by skipping around the Argentina defender's challenge and Ederson was on hand with excellent reaction to preserve City's lead.

6:17 – There was not so much to enjoy about the goalkeeping at the other end a few moments later. Ben Foster needlessly felled Riyad Mahrez, and Sergio Aguero converted a penalty to make it 2-0 with his 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium.

11:20 – Mahrez got in on the act by sending a free-kick past Foster courtesy of a deflection off Tom Cleverley. The midfielder stood apart from the edge of the Watford wall and diverted the ball into his own net with his face for 3-0.

14:07 – When Bernardo Silva scores an unmarked, stooping header from a corner, it's a sure fire sign your afternoon has gone awry. Watford's defenders appeared to have no interest whatsoever in marking the Portugal playmaker when he extended the lead to 4-0 from Otamendi's flick-on.

17:04 – No team has ever taken a quicker 5-0 lead in a Premier League game. Watford switched off as David Silva took a quick free-kick and Aguero squared for his fellow Argentinian Otamendi to slide home.

26:32 – De Bruyne unlocked the Hornets again and Aguero rattled a shot against the post from the edge of the area.

32:48 – Spare a thought for Dimitri Foulquier – the Watford debutant who was unceremoniously hauled off. During the time it took City to score five goals, he completed two passes.

43:12 – A combination of the post and Foster denied Aguero. Inevitably, De Bruyne supplied the ammunition.

45:00 (+3) – Half-time. Three minutes of added time meant City were 5-0 up at the interval having not scored for half an hour.

47:59 – City left-back Angelino came on for his Premier League debut at the break and it was soon 6-0. Will Hughes' poor defensive header and cute work from David and Bernardo Silva left the latter with a simple finish.

53:24 – Joao Cancelo replaced Kyle Walker. Sure, why not bring on the most expensive right-back of all time?

59:46 – De Bruyne's cross for 7-0 was so good Bernardo Silva could clumsily tread on the ball and still complete a maiden career treble. City now had Manchester United's Premier League record 9-0 win over Ipswich Town in their sights.

65:21 – Mahrez charged in at the back post to plant a header from Angelino's cross against the crossbar.

84:01 – Fittingly, given how he masterfully orchestrated proceedings, De Bruyne's fabulous strike into the top corner capped Watford's punishment at 8-0 – the biggest top-flight win in City's history and the Hornets' heaviest league defeat.

87:47 – City's brilliant Belgian, De Bruyne, probably should have equalled the Premier League record but dragged his shot wide at the end of a slaloming solo run.

Manchester City claimed their biggest-ever top-flight victory with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday to move within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool thanks to Bernardo Silva’s hat-trick.

A 3-2 defeat away to Norwich City last time out had raised questions about the hunger in Pep Guardiola's squad, but they responded with a brutal dismantling of the Hornets on home turf.

Liverpool will restore their five-point cushion at the top if they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Leicester City two points behind Guardiola's side after a 2-1 win over Tottenham.

In the day's other matches, Burnley moved up to seventh with a routine 2-0 home win over Norwich, while Everton lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield United.

DEVASTATING CITY BACK TO THEIR BEST

City's defeat against Norwich at Carrow Road had been their first since January, but any concerns it was anything more than a minor blip were pointedly answered by Guardiola's men against Watford.

The swagger with which City brushed aside Watford to take a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes was a reminder of the defending Premier League champions' quality and ruthlessness.

David Silva opened the scoring in the first minute of the game and that was followed by a Sergio Aguero penalty six minutes later – his 100th league goal at the Etihad Stadium.

Watford's defenders were left in a daze by City's slick interchanges as three goals – scored by Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo and Nicolas Otamendi – blew the visitors away.

The second half could have been something of an anti-climax, but Bernardo notched his hat-trick before the sensational Kevin De Bruyne rounded off the scoring.

LEICESTER FIGHT BACK DESPITE VAR

Mauricio Pochettino's 250th Premier League game in charge of Tottenham ended in defeat as his side's away day blues continued at the King Power Stadium in a match dominated by VAR.

Spurs have been memorable beneficiaries of the VAR review system in draws against Manchester City – most famously in a dramatic climax to their Champions League quarter-final second leg last season.

However, when Serge Aurier's goal was disallowed at the King Power Stadium because of the tightest of offside decisions against Son Heung-min when they were 1-0 up thanks to Harry Kane, it took the wind out of their sails.

Leicester were re-energised and after they equalised through Ricardo Pereira they took all three points thanks to a sublime low strike from James Maddison.

The Foxes themselves had earlier been denied a goal when the score was 0-0, after Wilfred Ndidi bundled in from close range only for it to be chalked off by VAR for offside against Ayoze Perez.

BLADES SLICE THROUGH TOFFEES

It was a tetchy day at Goodison Park as Everton suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League against newly promoted Sheffield United.

An own goal from Colombian defender Yerry Mina, who headed in an Oliver Norwood corner, came against the run of play, but the Toffees were unable to find a way back despite long spells of pressure.

When Lys Mousset slotted in his first goal for the Blades with 11 minutes to go it was start of grumbles from the Everton fans about whether Marco Silva is the man to take them forward as they started to stream towards the exits. They became boos when the full-time whistle was blown.

Chris Wilder's side, meanwhile, leapfrogged the Blues into the comfort of mid-table.

CLARETS ENJOY HOME COMFORTS

Burnley's ability to punch above their weight in the Premier League in recent seasons has been largely down to their impressive results at Turf Moor. 

A typically dogged and disciplined display from Sean Dyche's men secured another three points and lifted them up to seventh in the table.

Victory was secured thanks to two goals in four minutes from powerful striker Chris Wood, as Norwich failed to hit the heights of their previous win over Man City.

Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a stunning 8-0 triumph over sorry Watford to record their biggest ever top-flight victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side slipped to a shock defeat at Norwich City last weekend but responded in spectacular fashion against the league's bottom side, racing into a five-goal lead inside 18 minutes.

David Silva got them on their way after 52 seconds before a Sergio Aguero penalty and goals from Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi put the game out of the sight before the midway point of the first half.

Bernardo Silva grabbed the first top-flight hat-trick of his career with goals in the 48th and 60th minutes before Kevin De Bruyne added an eighth five minutes from time. 

The result moves City two points behind Liverpool at the Premier League's summit – though the Reds have a game in hand - while Watford remain rooted to the foot of the table with just two points from their opening six games.City started in blistering fashion, taking the lead inside the opening minute when David Silva slotted home De Bruyne's wonderful cross from the right.

Ederson denied Gerard Deulofeu moments later before Ben Foster rashly brought down Mahrez in the penalty area, giving Aguero the opportunity to slam home his 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium from the resulting spot-kick.

Their third came after just 12 minutes when Mahrez's free-kick from the edge of the area beat Foster courtesy of a significant deflection off Tom Cleverley.

Bernardo Silva added a fourth just three minutes later, stooping to head home a corner from eight yards, while Otamendi made it five in the 18th minute, turning home Aguero's low cross at the back post.

City's intensity dropped a little after that devastating opening, although Aguero came close to registering a hat-trick before the interval, the Argentina international twice denied by the post.

The hosts wasted little time making it six after the restart, Bernardo Silva slotting past a helpless Foster from 10 yards after collecting David Silva's pass.

Aguero twice came close to adding a seventh before Bernardo Silva brought up his hat-trick on the hour mark, prodding home De Bruyne's cross from close range at the back post.

Mahrez then saw a header cannon back off the crossbar before De Bruyne capped a superb individual display with a rising drive from 16 yards that gave a beleaguered Foster no chance.

 

What does it mean? Watford on the end of brutal backlash

Determined to return to winning ways after last weekend's surprise defeat to Norwich, poor Watford never stood a chance against Guardiola's men. A display of relentless efficiency moves them two points behind Liverpool, who travel to Chelsea on Sunday well aware that the reigning champions are ready to pounce should they slip up.

Aguero hits another landmark

The 31-year-old has now scored in each of his six Premier League appearances this season as he brought up a century of league goals at home. His only disappointment will be that he failed to add more, twice hitting the upright in the first half.

Foster in accommodating mood

He was hardly helped by his woeful defence, but the Watford goalkeeper provided little resistance to City. He brought down Mahrez for Aguero's penalty and scarcely produced a save in what was a game he will hope to forget quickly.

What's next?

Both sides are in EFL Cup action on Tuesday, with City travelling to Preston North End and Watford hosting Swansea City. Guardiola's side then visit Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, while the Hornets take on Wolves at Molineux on the same day.

Bernardo Silva insisted Manchester City have nothing to prove to their critics and has backed his side to cope with their defensive crisis.

City have won back-to-back Premier League titles and enjoyed a clean sweep of domestic honours in a memorable campaign last time out.

But Pep Guardiola's men find themselves five points behind Liverpool with five matches of the 2019-20 league campaign played following last weekend's shock 3-2 error-ridden loss at Norwich City.

The reigning English champions returned to winning ways on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and Silva is taking little notice of the criticism he and his team-mates have faced in recent days.

"People can criticise and say what they want," he told reporters after the victory in Kharkiv. "We don't need to prove anything to anyone, after what we've done the last two seasons. We're relaxed.

"Of course we're not happy, because we want to do better and we know losing against Norwich isn't ideal, but all teams have good and bad moments.

"It's impossible to stay three seasons, only with good moments.

"Sometimes you will have bad moments and it's the way you react to those bad moments that shows and proved how good a team you are and that's what we'll try to do.

"Every time we've had bad moments in the past, we've always reacted well, and that's what we'll try to do again."

Nicolas Otamendi was City's only established centre-back for their trip to Shakhtar after John Stones joined Aymeric Laporte in the treatment room.

Fernandinho filled in alongside Otamendi and looked comfortable as City kept a clean sheet, giving Silva confidence that his side can deal with the double blow.

"We saw last season that Fernandinho's able to play in that position," the Portuguese said. "He's very intelligent and when you understand the game and you're intelligent like he is, it's easy.

"Obviously it's not the ideal situation, because we don't have a lot of centre-backs right now, but it's what we have and we have no complaints."

He added: "In the Premier League we're five points behind. We want to do better, we want to try to close the gap a little bit, but in the Champions League it was a great way to start the group stage.

"We want to keep going this way, keep improving and try to win games."

Manchester City return to Premier League action with a home match against Watford on Saturday.

Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City prodigy Phil Foden will rank among the world's best midfielders within two years.

A City academy graduate, the homegrown 19-year-old has lived with big expectations since breaking into City's first-team setup in the title-winning 2017-18 season.

Pep Guardiola used him 13 times in the Premier League last term and, in July, went so far as to describe Foden as the "most talented player" he has ever seen, ahead of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Likewise, Portugal international Silva is "very excited" about the youngster's potential and expects him to make a rapid rise to the top of the game, so long as the pressure on his shoulders is carefully managed.

"I just think he's six years younger than me, but he's a huge, huge talent," Silva told the BBC.

"If he keeps working as hard as he does every day, because he does work very hard, and if his mentality is good - and he has that - [then in] one, two years he will be one of the best midfielders in the world.

"To go from the second team of Manchester City to the first one, it is a huge step.

"Me, I was from the second team at Benfica, to Monaco, then always growing, and then Manchester City.

"I don't know what kind of pressure he has, but he enjoys playing football so much and he loves what he does."

Foden, who is yet to win a senior England cap, made a 10-minute cameo off the bench in City's season-opening 5-0 win at West Ham, the 19th Premier League appearance of his career.

Silva added: "He will be successful because when you have a good mentality like he has and when you are good, because he's very good, it's a matter of time.

"Sometimes you need six more months, sometimes you need one more year, but sooner or later he will be one of the best."

Pep Guardiola revealed Riyad Mahrez cut short his holiday following the Africa Cup of Nations, giving Manchester City a boost as Bernardo Silva dealt with an issue at West Ham on Saturday.

Mahrez captained Algeria to the AFCON title on July 19 but returned to start against West Ham in City's Premier League opener, providing two assists in a 5-0 win.

Guardiola was delighted to be able to call on the former Leicester City winger as he revealed Silva, a star of last season's title success, was left on the bench due to "little muscular problems".

"Riyad called me after they won [the AFCON]," Guardiola said. "He said, 'I need just 10 days. I want to come back soon. I want to play'. I like it. That's why I decide, 'Okay, I want to play him'.

"Bernardo had done nothing wrong, but there was some little muscular problems.

"I want them to know I trust all of them. That is the truth. After four seasons, I don't not like one player who is with us. I trust with them and they have to compete with opponents and with each other."

From West Ham's side, the post-match narrative involved complaints of City's apparent tactical fouling, with Manuel Pellegrini attributing this to his team's lack of creativity.

But Jack Wilshere had no issue with City's tactics, suggesting West Ham need to learn from such elite opponents.

"That's football," he said. "When you play against experienced players who understand the game, it's going to happen

"You can't get frustrated. They're clever players. A team like us who like to attack could learn from that. They do that counter press. They lose the ball and bang, they go straight away.

"They're going to make fouls. If you do get out of it, it happens so quickly and they bring you down."

Manchester City and Portugal star Bernardo Silva will win the Ballon d'Or when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo begin to show signs of decline or retire, according to former Selecao star Paulo Futre.

Silva featured in 51 matches for City in their treble-winning campaign of 2018-19 and was voted City's Player of the Season by supporters.

And after also helping Portugal to Nations League glory earlier this month, the 24-year-old has been tipped by Futre to become the next leading star in world football after Messi and Ronaldo – aged 32 and 34, respectively.

Futre, who earned 41 caps for Portugal and represented the likes of Porto, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at club level, told Omnisport: "I think Bernardo will be the next star, or he will be when Ronaldo and Messi start to decline.

"I think Bernardo will be one of those who will be ready to win the Ballon d'Or, because he is a player with a lot of responsibility in a great team like Manchester City.

"He will continue to grow and in two or three years, when Messi and Cristiano retire, I think he can be one of the big favourites to win the Ballon d'Or."

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric ended the decade-long reign of Messi and Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d'Or for the first time last December.

Kyle Walker's fresh contract running until 2024 continues a trend at Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

The Catalan led his club to back-to-back Premier League titles last season, before completing a clean sweep of domestic honours and he is keen to keep a core of proven winners together.

An ongoing FIFA investigation into City that could result in a transfer ban means this approach could be prudent, although it is a policy that predates football's authorities taking an active interest in the club's affairs.

A £50million signing from Tottenham in 2017, England defender Walker is in it for the long haul at the Etihad Stadium – and he is far from the only one.

Kyle Walker (age 29, contracted until 2024)

Significantly older than the other players on this list, underlining the esteem in which Guardiola holds the full-back. Walker overcame a mid-season form slump with flying colours in 2019 and brought up 100 City appearances as Watford were swatted aside in the FA Cup final. Danilo is reportedly seeking pastures new due to Walker locking down the right-back slot, with Juventus' Joao Cancelo a rumoured target to bring fresh competition.

Bernardo Silva (age 24, contracted until 2025)

A £43.5million signing from Monaco in May 2017, Silva truly came to the fore last season. The Portugal playmaker's superb form and versatility meant Kevin De Bruyne's injury woes did not hinder City to any major extent. Like Walker, his initial deal ran until 2022. A Guardiola favourite.

Ederson (age 25, contracted until 2025)

A sharp, fearless shot-stopper, Ederson's composure and skill on the ball felt like the final piece in the jigsaw for Guardiola, enabling City to fully take on their manager's style. Despite agreeing a six-year contract after joining from Benfica for £35m in June 2017, he confirmed an additional two years at the conclusion of the 2017-18 campaign.

Aymeric Laporte (age 25, contracted until 2025)

The French centre-back has become Guardiola's 'Mr Dependable' at the heart of defence, mixing an elegant assurance on the ball with an imposing physical side to his game. A £57m recruit after City triggered Athletic Bilbao's release clause last January, Laporte bolted two more years on to his Manchester stay this February.

Raheem Sterling (age 24, contracted until 2023)

Arguably the greatest success story of Guardiola's City tenure, Sterling is now an indispensable attacking asset for club and country. The former Barcelona boss had long been keen on his star winger signing fresh terms before he settled upon a three-year extension in November 2018.

Kevin De Bruyne (age 27, contracted until 2023)

Forced to be a peripheral figure for much of the treble assault, De Bruyne was named City's Player of the Season in 2017-18. The Belgium midfielder's stellar form towards the back end of 2017 apparently had Europe's super clubs licking their lips, meaning his renewed commitment in January 2018 was a source of joy and relief for supporters.

Gabriel Jesus (age 22, contracted until 2023)

Brazil forward Jesus has perhaps not kicked on as expected from his emphatic introduction to life in Manchester in 2017, when he threatened to unseat Sergio Aguero as City's premier striker. Aguero's status is once again undisputed, but a new contract signed last November showed Jesus remains an important part of City's future.

Phil Foden (age 19, contracted until 2024)

The jewel of City's much-vaunted academy system, Foden finished last season with seven goals in all competitions - including a vital headed winner on his second Premier League start against Tottenham in April. A mesmeric solo goal for England Under-21s against France on Tuesday underlined Foden's enticing potential.

Bernardo Silva expressed his pride at winning his first trophy with Portugal as he secured a fitting end to a hugely successful season with Nations League glory against Netherlands.

The midfielder set up the only goal of the game at Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, finding Goncalo Guedes with a clever reverse pass before the Valencia forward rifled home.

Silva was named player of the tournament after the final, adding yet another piece of silverware at the end of a 2018-19 campaign that delivered the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup with Manchester City.

"For me to finish this way it's just amazing, I'm so, so happy with my season, so happy to end it this way with these fantastic people that helped us over the past two games and now it's time to rest and prepare for next season and try to do even better," he told Sky Sports.

"I'm very proud, the most important thing is Portugal won, I'm very proud to have won the first title with my country and of course if you can add to that the [individual] awards you just said, it's even better.

"I'm very proud of my work, very happy at the moment."

On the decisive goal, Silva added: "I don't remember who played the ball to me but it was a great pass.

"I heard Guedes shout 'Bernardo!'. I didn't really see where he was but I slid the ball sideways and happily he produced a great finish."

In the 28th minute it happened. The titanic confrontation we'd all be waiting for. Virgil van Dijk blocked a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Except, things never really heated up from there. Of course they didn't. That was never really Ronaldo's intention.

The build-up to this match, where a 1-0 win over Netherlands crowned Portugal the inaugural Nations League champions, focused on how the how battle between Europe's best defender this season and the continent's greatest international goalscorer of all time might play out.

Ronaldo has five Ballons d'Or and is hungry for a sixth, although there is a growing clamour for Van Dijk's imperious displays with Champions League winners Liverpool this season to be recognised.

Earlier incarnations of Ronaldo – think of the Madrid-bound Manchester United tyro who signed off with a 2-0 Champions League final defeat against Barcelona, but not before cramming a ludicrous number of shots into the opening 10 minutes – would have charged headlong into the Van Dijk confrontation.

But the 34-year-old version loiters on the fringes of games. Player of the Tournament Bernardo Silva was the attacking inspiration as Portugal tightened their grip on the opening 45 minutes, all twinkling feet and bustling energy. Bruno Fernandes fired five of the hosts' 12 shots before the break in something of a quantity over quality contribution.

Ronaldo still occasionally indulges such trigger-happy tendencies. Silva covered 13.7 kilometres in Manchester City's Premier League win over Liverpool this season, work that Ronaldo would certainly not see himself having any part of nowadays

Why should he? For all their stylistic differences, this is the big late-career convergence between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

They've seen these patterns of play, these ebbs and flows over and over. They know they are better than pretty much anyone else who has laced boots. Why get involved in the hustle and bustle more likely to magnify the ravages of age when you can watch, wait and produce game-sealing brilliance?

Ronaldo's hat-trick in this week's semi-final was a fine demonstration of that approach in action, thumping home a free-kick and seeing the game drift before going bang-bang late on to seal the deal.

The other side of this equation is ceding absolute control of events. When Messi's Barcelona were ransacked by Liverpool in the Champions League, he appeared a victim of circumstances his team-mates could not bring back into his gasp. Ronaldo had a similar experience against many of his Sunday opponents when Ajax did for Juventus.

Thankfully for him, with the relentless Silva at his side, this chance to lift silverware before an adoring public was never likely to pass him by.

Where Frenkie de Jong was able to bend England to his will in midweek, the Dutch midfield master found himself more concerned with events behind him in Porto. Which pocket of space was Silva going to dart into next? When would he stop running? Would he ever?

The silky touches thrill those in the stands, but it is Silva's sheer relentlessness that make him a nightmare to play against. Like an immaculate classic car powered by a thundering and unfailing diesel engine.

He snuck between the lines decisively with an hour played, teeing up Goncalo Guedes for a fabulous finish.

In the end, there was no need for Ronaldo to engage in the heavyweight tussle when Portugal's brilliant bantamweight was going through his repertoire, even winning headers against Matthijs de Ligt in his own penalty area and weaving around De Jong again to run down the clock.

Head coach Fernando Santos still thinks Portugal will be able to call upon a 37-year-old Ronaldo at the 2022 World Cup. The sight of the superstar forward embracing Silva immediately after the full-time whistle suggests he knows just how important his country's latest world-class star will be in effectively realising that dream.

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