Everton winger Bernard has spoken to the Brazilian media this week, highlighting the big love he has for his former club Atletico Mineiro.

During quarantine, TV stations and websites in Brazil have been broadcasting old games, and this week, Globo Esporte have shown Galo’s first Libertadores title.

Bernard was one of the stars in that squad, so he was invited to talk about the memories he has from that time.

And when asked if he’s ever returning to Atletico Mineiro, the player has made it clear that his priority is to end his career at the club.

“I have the wish of going back, yes. It’s my priority. I aim for that. When we say that, most people say: ‘You will come back when you’re old, won’t succeed more, so we don’t it’. I have in mind that I want to go back to Atlético to get results. I don’t want to go back in a moment when I won’t be able to give what I always gave. Run, dedicate, score goals, give joy.”

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The Everton player was also quizzed about the biggest star Atletico had at the time, which was Ronaldinho. He recalled a funny story about the day when he got to the club and found out that they signed the Brazilian legend.

“I used to wake up a little later, because training was in the afternoon. I woke up, turned on the TV, had lunch at home and went out for training. For me everything was normal, as if it were another day. I arrived at the training centre, and the reception desk was full of reporters, a lot of people. I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ Out of nowhere they had two helicopters. I said, ‘Yeah, something happened here’. I even commented: ‘Either someone robbed or there is a problem here’ (laughs). I entered even more slowly, stopped in the parking lot, took a look before. I saw that it was normal, everything was quiet, and I went down to the locker room. There was only me in the locker room that day. I don’t remember if I arrived early or if the others were at the gym.

“I was changing clothes, then he enters the locker room. I looked at him and thought, ‘No, it’s not possible. What is this guy doing here? (Laughs) There’s no way!’ And then he came to greet me, and I was kind of not believing, thinking ‘It’s not possible’. And I wasn’t aware of anything, of any rumour, because Kalil suddenly decided to bring him. ‘Let’s go and bring him’, he brought him and that’s it. I got scared, no doubt, but he’s a guy who was always an idol to me, a guy I always stopped to watch, a guy I had a great affection without knowing, and I have even more after I played with him and lived with him. It was a special moment at Atlético to be able to have lived all that.”

Bernard left Atletico right after the Copa Libertadores title in a €25m move to Shakhtar Donetsk. He stayed in Ukraine for five years, until signing for Everton in 2018.

Given he turns 28 years of age this year, there’s not a huge amount of time left for him to make the return, if he wants to do so before winding his career down.