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Bravo: This was a very special game

Wednesday 28 June 2017… it’s a date Claudio Bravo will never forget.

It was the night he sent Chile through to the Confederations Cup final, saving three Portugal penalties in a penalty shoot-out to achieve instant hero status.

With the game ending 0-0 after extra time, the shot-stopper denied Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, as Chile triumphed 3-0. 

Read... Bravo heroics put Chile into final

Unsurprisingly, the goalkeeper’s remarkable feat is the talk of the media – and deservedly so.

Bravo himself has spoken of a special night but as ever, remained humble. He also revealed he wasn't even at full fitness, making his accomplishment all the more impressive!

Quoted in the Mirror, he reflected: "I feel as I always do. I'm a very balanced person.

"I was injured and didn't play at my normal pace but I normally take things calmly and this was a very special game for us.

“We were able to reach the final which is very important for us. We're completing a very successful cycle. We're happy to play in the final."

Many deem penalty shoot-outs to be simply a game of luck, but Bravo is not of that opinion.

"I don't think it's only chance,” he added. “I think you need to work a lot. You need to study your opponent.

“I think we played with our heads. We were quite tired at the end but playing with our heads as well as our hearts.

"I knew what I had to do. Of course, we're very happy because we've been able to stop the European champions.

"Portugal had many chances to score. I think the game was quite balanced. Both teams showed great respect for the other.

"The secret, I think, is that we never stop believing in ourselves and we want to do everything we can to win. We still have one more game to win."

As you can imagine, Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi heaped praise on his goalkeeper.

He told press: "Fortunately, Claudio was amazing in the penalty shootout, the players who scored were amazing and I think we deserve to be in the final.

"It's true that luck is involved in taking penalties, but I wouldn't say it's only about luck. You can prepare and you can study and you can improve your chances.

"[Bravo] had analysed his opponents very well. Those who take penalties can be studied because you can see them with their country and their club.

“Claudio was prepared: he was able to predict what was going to happen. And he had the personality and mental strength to make it count.

"Nobody wants to be in that situation. You never know what is going to happen, but when Claudio was able to stop the first effort and Arturo scored, we calmed down a little.

"I'm very proud of this team and the players are very proud to represent Chile in every single tournament. We are very humbled by the big responsibility we carry.”

Congratulations, Claudio!

In other news, as usual there’s some transfer speculation to ponder over as the Telegraph believe City are the front runners to sign Alexis Sanchez, after Bayern Munich apparently withdrew their interest.

An article reads: “Sanchez wants in excess of £350,000-a-week to leave the Gunners, who will ask for around £50 million for the forward who helped Chile book their place in the Confederations Cup last night.

“Sanchez's contract runs out in 12 months, but the big-money wages being spoken about appear to have cooled Bayern's interest in the forward.”

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig midfielder and alleged Liverpool target Naby Keita has spoken of his desire to join City, Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Charles Perrin of the Express claims: “Recent reports suggested the Bundesliga outfit are demanding in excess of £70million for the 22-year-old.

“Having got a solid season under his belt, Keita has set his sights higher and is ready to challenge himself abroad.”

When asked of his options, Keita told German newspaper Die Welt: “I hope, however, that I have the level in two, three years and could play for one of the very big clubs.

“This includes Barcelona, but it also includes Real Madrid or Manchester City.”

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