Armindo Tué Na Bangna AKA ‘Bruma’ is a player with vast experience of European football. Developing at and making his senior appearance for Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, Bruma moved to Turkey with Galatasaray, before moving to Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and now on loan from PSV at Olympiacos.
Bruma has enjoyed a season in Greece whereby much was unknown as to whether or not this could be a make or break year.
Bruma had joined PSV from RB Leipzig in 2019 looking to reignite his career. Leipzig had crafted a system which was not necessarily suited to an out and out winger in the style which the Portuguese international had honed during his early twenties.
Whilst PSV’s system was much more suited to Bruma, the rise of plenty of exciting, young talents such as Noni Madueke, Cody Gakpo and Ritsu Doan in addition to the presence of Steven Bergwijn who would eventually join Spurs would mean Bruma was in a congestive area of the squad.
The decision was made at the end of the last transfer window for him to sign for Olympiacos on loan with an option for the deal to be made permanent the following summer.
— Olympiacos FC (46🏆) (@olympiacosfc) October 5, 2020
Bruma would aid in yet another title-winning season for the club and 101 caught up with the 26-year-old to find out about the season, his hopes for Euro 2020 and the more personal challenges of playing on loan with the uncertainty of his future with a buy option attached to the deal.
Staking a claim
Intrigued as to whether or not Olympiacos’ Portuguese coach Pedro Martins was a factor in the decision for Bruma to make the move to Greece, he did indeed confirm this was the case.
“I knew that Pedro Martins was interested in me. I always wanted to move and play abroad with a Portuguese coach, so it was a good match,” said Bruma.
“I wanted to play more to be a choice for the Euros squad.”
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Portugal have arisen to become one of the most threatening forces in international football. Consolidated by their triumph in Euro 2016 in France, Portugal have become a well-rounded group known for its solidity at the back and firepower in the forward line.
For Bruma, his decision in the summer of 2020 was massive. Although playing under a fellow Portuguese was clearly an attraction, the move would need to be one which would thrust him into the eyes of Fernando Santos once again.
Having not played since 2019 for the national side, and having never played at an international tournament, everything was riding on this season.
For Bruma, things went very well. In fact, the CIES Football Observatory, who in collaboration with InStat publish the results of the most successful players across all leagues, revealed that Bruma had topped the entire Greek Super League.
This has encouraged him further to believe he is a good choice for the European Championships.
“Things did really go well; it was a good decision to come to Greece.”
“I wasn’t expecting [Top of the CIES ranking] to be described as one of the best players in the league.
“I thank God that with all this work that we put on together I think I’m a good choice for the euro squad.”
– ℎ ️ Bruma is the best player in the @Super_League_GR, according to @CIES_Football! Another big achievement on the year for our star, after winning the league title! #Bruma #Olympiacos #CIES pic.twitter.com/V08YEWokdX
— Empower Sports (@EmpowerSportsHQ) May 11, 2021
The Portuguese people must be excited to see how their national team is improving year on year and to see a collection of talented players selected for teams at the elite level in addition to a seemingly endless conveyer belt of budding stars coming through youth systems in their homeland.
For a player, whilst it must also be great to see the nation doing so well, it is intriguing to consider the frustration that this must also bring. To know that you are competing for a place in one of the most competitive eras of the nation’s footballing history.
However, Bruma does not see it this way, if anything, it is purely encouragement. When asked if there is any frustration to have such a high quantity of competition in his position he responded confidently this was not the case.
“As a Portuguese and a player from the national team it’s great to see all these guys coming up and doing great seasons,” he said.
“But actually no, it motivates me more to get to that place too. To fight for a place in the European squad and that makes you work better and harder every day.”
The ever-present figure in the Portuguese national side over the last decade-plus has of course been Cristiano Ronaldo. But Portugal’s team, that being the key word, is showing to be far more than one man.
“It’s normal for everyone and for a national team like Portugal to focus on Ronaldo considering he’s the best player in the world,” said Bruma.
“Many of the players are working with him, helping to push the team up. It is a natural thing for the focus to be on Ronaldo, but the national team is growing. Fernando Santos will do the right thing to set up a team for the Euro.”
With the season coming to an end and Bruma’s situation still unclear for the future, the winger was giving nothing away as to where he would be playing next season.
With Olympiacos having the option to make the move permanent, Bruma said that he was ‘very happy’ being in Greece with the champions.
“I have contract with PSV which is a club I respect a lot. Things are going great at Olympiacos, we still have things to achieve here. I’m working to reach the collective goals [The league being achieved and now the cup].
“After this we’ll see. I am very happy at Olympiacos, but I respect PSV.”
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Interested as to the mental side of playing on loan with a contracted buy-option in the contract, it was fascinating to learn about the effect on a player’s psyche being in that situation.
With so many uncertainties, how that affects the day-to-day life of a player, especially when reaching the end of a season. Almost a ‘limbo’ of sorts being contracted by one club but loaned to another where they are given the power to make, or not make, the deal permanent.
“It’s always a little bit distressing to be in this situation you describe as ‘limbo’ because you don’t know and if you don’t focus on every day’s work you start wondering and thinking.
“But gladly I focused a lot on the daily routine, working, getting better and things went well with the championship so I could leave that those thoughts behind.”
Knowing this, had Bruma changed his mind on accepting a contract offer of this type again?
“Actually, no it didn’t change my mind because these are football things.
“It will happen and will keep happening so the only thing is to advise other players and myself just to focus on the day-to-day work.
“That’s it, I want to play, so if there’s a possibility to play and the contract allows you to play that’s it.”
Bruma’s season could yet still be crowned by a Greek Cup and even a possible call-up to the Portuguese national side for the European Championships.
He could do little more to earn a spot with some excellent displays this season, proven by the CIES ranking itself. 101 wishes him the best of luck and will be watching intently at his future career.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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