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Bruno Guimaraes exclusive interview: I was born to play in the Premier League and I want to be a Newcastle legend

In an in-depth interview, Bruno Guimaraes tells Sky Sports about his mission to become a Newcastle legend and thriving under "English father" Eddie Howe; watch Tottenham vs Newcastle live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

Bruno Guimaraes interview

Bruno Guimaraes is looking out over the pristine playing surface at an empty St James' Park. Less than 48 hours ago, he was there, in the middle of it all, helping Newcastle win a third game in four, his name reverberating around the ground as it so often does.

"The best stadium in England and the best atmosphere in the Premier League," he tells Sky Sports. "When we play at our home, it's like playing with 12, always. The support is fantastic. It's very hard to play against us here, with our fans so close to the pitch."

Everton, beaten by a single goal on Wednesday night, are just the latest side to struggle. "It's great for us," Bruno smiles, "but not so great for our opponents." Since the turn of the year, Newcastle have lost only once in 15 Premier League home games.

Bruno has of course played a huge role in that run, his £40m arrival from Lyon in January ushering in a new era under the club's Saudi owners. Newcastle, 18th when he joined, now sit sixth, two points off the Champions League places. The supporters adore him.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Newcastle’s win over Everton

"Yes, sometimes it can be difficult to leave the house because everybody recognises me," he says with a chuckle, his newly-bleached hair ensuring he stands out even more.

"But they are always so friendly, so loving, not just with me but with everyone in my family; my wife, my dad, my mum. The experience I've had here has been amazing."

The adoration is mutual. That much becomes clear straight after our interview, when Bruno, hurrying home to his heavily pregnant wife, Ana, bumps into a group of fans on a tour of the stadium and still takes time out to pose for photographs.

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He looks completely at ease in his surroundings - "I feel at home," he says - but the decision to come was not one he took lightly.

"I think it was one of the most difficult decisions of my life," adds the Brazil international, switching from Portuguese to English.

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Newcastle boss Eddie Howe says Bruno Guimaraes has done 'unbelievably well'

"To change country, to change leagues, and in a World Cup year as well. It was a really hard decision, but I think it was the right one. I'm so happy. It's an amazing step. I feel like a Geordie now.

"I always dreamed of playing in the Premier League but, honestly, I never thought it could be this good. I'm proud of what I'm doing, of myself and of the club, but it was a difficult choice."

A difficult choice and a difficult start too.

After all the excitement that greeted his arrival in January, Bruno ended up watching his first five Premier League games as a substitute, manager Eddie Howe opting to introduce him slowly.

"To be honest, when I started those games on the bench, I sometimes thought, 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing with my life?'" says Bruno, chuckling again. "No, no, I'm joking. Of course, it's never easy to stay on the bench, but I think Eddie made the best decision.

"It was good for my adaptation to the club, to the Premier League, and to get to know my team-mates.

Bruno graphic
Image: Bruno Guimaraes has proved a transformative signing for Newcastle

"Then, afterwards, when I started to play, it was like a dream."

He marked his full debut, in a 2-1 win over Southampton at St Mary's Stadium in March, with a man-of-the-match performance and an audacious, back-heeled finish for Newcastle's second goal. He went on to score four more before the season was out.

"I think, when Newcastle bought me, some fans thought I was a No 9, but Newcastle bought a midfielder, a No 6 or a No 8," he says, smiling.

"There was a lot of pressure because I was a national team player for Brazil, coming to a team that was fighting to stay in the Premier League and not get relegated.

"But I think I was born to play in the Premier League. I love the atmosphere. I love the intensity of the game. It is the most difficult league, of course. There are no easy games. But when you play well here, it makes you think you can play in any competition.

"I think that, and the pressure when I came, has helped me to develop, to be the player I am now."

And what a player. Jamie Carragher described him as a "complete midfielder" on Monday Night Football recently - "he reminds me of a Bryan Robson, a Peter Reid, a Roy Keane, a Patrick Vieira," added the Sky Sports pundit - and the statistics certainly bear it out.

Bruno graphic
Image: Bruno Guimaraes ranks highly in various metrics since breaking into the Newcastle team

Since his first start, Bruno ranks second among all Premier League players for tackles and successful duels, while only Bruno Fernandes, Leandro Trossard and Kevin de Bruyne have made more through-balls. Bruno has completed more dribbles than Bukayo Saka and Heung-Min Son. Only Wilfried Zaha has won more fouls.

His combination of guts and guile won praise from Keane himself as well as Carragher, one of the Premier League's great central midfielders, no less, describing Bruno as an "intelligent footballer" and "good character" who "knows what the game is about".

"For sure, it's always a pleasure to hear things like that," says Bruno. "It is one more motivation, but this is only my first full season at Newcastle. There is a long way to go. I love playing here, I love to bond with the fans, and I want to become a legend here."

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Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher analyse 'complete' Bruno Guimaraes

It is little wonder Newcastle fans have taken him to their hearts and Bruno gives recent transfer speculation linking him with Real Madrid similar treatment. "It's always nice when there are teams looking at you, but my plan is just to do my best at Newcastle," he says.

"The rest, I leave with my agent. I have three or four years of contract left. It's so long. I swear I'm not thinking about other things. My focus now is just on Newcastle and the World Cup."

Bruno has not yet secured a starting spot with Brazil but no player is more important to Newcastle and there is more evidence of his completeness in how he has adapted to a change of role this season, moving to the base of midfield having previously played mostly as a No 8.

I love playing here, I love to bond with the fans, and I want to become a legend here
Bruno Guimaraes on Newcastle

Which position does he prefer?

"To be honest, If you ask me this question, I have to say I prefer to play at No 8, but I think my role here, at No 6, is exactly what the team needs," he says. "It is to take the ball out, to do some passes, to find the wingers and the strikers.

"I can play both positions, but Eddie has a choice to make and, for me, the most important thing is just to play and to help Newcastle get the three points. I think my best position is at No 8 but I can play at No 6. It's no problem for me."

Bruno has moved to the base of Newcastle's midfield this season
Image: Bruno has moved to the base of Newcastle's midfield this season

It helps, of course, that Newcastle's system still allows for him to get forward. He scored twice in the recent 5-1 win over Brentford and there have also been two assists, including the pass, on the edge of the Everton box, which set up Miguel Almiron's winner on Wednesday night.

"It's nice because, with the way that we are playing, Dan Burn is at left-back, so he can stay in the middle and I can go and be another player to help the attackers. In the last game, I had three chances to score. Unfortunately I didn't, but I love to play as a No 6 or a No 8."

He loves playing for Howe too.

"For me, he is like an English father. We have a great relationship. We speak about everything. I think I have improved my English a lot with him. He is a good guy, a person I really love to work with and be with. He is one of the best coaches in England.

"I think all the players love his way of working. The way he treats me is the same as the way he treats any young boy from the academy who comes to train with us.

Manchester City's Jack Grealish (left) and Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday May 8, 2022.
Image: Bruno Guimaraes in action against Manchester City

"I think that is important, to do that with all the all the players, not just Bruno, Callum Wilson or Allan Saint-Maximin, but with the young guys as well."

The approach has helped Howe foster a strong sense of togetherness among the players, with Bruno, he says, epitomising "the team spirit and drive" Newcastle need to be successful.

"We have no jealous players here," says Bruno. "Everybody wants what's best for the team.

"All the players who come on the pitch know what they need to do to help the team, if they need keep the ball, if they need to recover the ball, whatever. I think all the players are thinking of the same goal. It's one of the reasons we are doing well."

Bruno is himself another big reason for that, of course, but he is cautious when asked about what the side can achieve this season. Does he see a Champions League finish as a possibility?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Newcastle's 5-1 win over Brentford

"It's not impossible, but I don't think we can put that as a goal," he replies. "We must think game by game because we know how difficult it is to play in the Premier League.

"We have 28 games to play, so we can't put more pressure on ourselves, you know? We are doing well and I think we could be there. But what matters is our position when the season finishes. It's nice we are doing well, but it's just the beginning."

Sunday's trip to Tottenham will test Newcastle's ambition and there are new beginnings to come at home for Bruno too. In fact, his wife is already overdue as they await the birth of their first child.

"I hope it will be on Monday, because I want to be present on the day and I know we have a very important game at the weekend," he says, smiling again. "I pray to God to give my son two or three more days in Ana's belly, but I'm so excited. It's a dream come true."

As it transpires, his son, Matteo, arrives just hours after our interview. "The best day of my life," he writes on Instagram as he announces the birth. Thanks to Bruno, Newcastle supporters feel they are already living theirs.

Watch Tottenham vs Newcastle live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

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