Brighton & Hove Albion captain Bruno spoke about his time on the south coast prior to bowing out against Manchester City on the final day, as he reflected on his seven seasons playing for the Seagulls.
We took the Spaniard back to when he first joined the club in 2012 and asked him what his first impressions were.
He said, “I knew about Brighton because I had a friend, Vicente, playing here — we were together for two years at Valencia. He was one of the reasons that I came here, I also knew it was a really good city and the club had ambition.
“It was really easy to settle down because we had such a good group of lads. They were really kind with me. I didn’t speak any English and even though I couldn’t really express myself, it was so easy from the first day.
“My league debut was at Hull after a long journey on the coach — we lost 1-0 but it was a really good performance. It wasn’t the best start in terms of the result, but it felt like a good start to English football for me.”
After claiming six assists in 15 league matches, Bruno then got his name on the scoresheet for the first time against Bolton Wanderers at the Amex Stadium.
“Every goal you score is special, especially for a defender, we don’t score that many," he added. "It was a special goal against Bolton because it was my first one at the club.
“It’s a bonus if you score, but it depends on the game and the style of play — the more offensive you are as a team, the more involved the full-backs will be in and around the penalty area.
“I would have loved to have scored more goals, but I never had too many chances and defending has always been more important.
“I scored two or three goals when Sami Hyypia was here because full-backs had to be higher up the pitch, but it all depends on the style of the team.”
The Seagulls reached the Sky Bet Championship play-offs three times inside Bruno’s first four seasons at the club, and the 38-year-old reflected on those campaigns, before eventually reaching the Premier League in 2017.
“I was injured for the play-off matches against Crystal Palace and Derby, and it was hard to watch from the outside. Playing against Sheffield Wednesday was equally as hard, because we were so close to getting promoted at Middlesbrough.
“We were so unlucky in the first leg at Hillsborough, with a handful of injuries, but that gave us one of the best atmospheres at the Amex in the second leg. It was also one of the best performances we’ve given inside 45 minutes since I’ve played for the club.
“We were devastated after Middlesbrough, but after Sheffield Wednesday, that changing room, just wow, it was something else. There was frustration, sadness, and it was really tough to deal with.
“But seeing what it meant to everyone, it allowed us to take some positives. We were desperate to stand up again and fight in the next season.
“In football it’s really difficult to keep those high standards for a long time. You’ll see a few teams doing well for one season, but what we managed to do the following season was so difficult.”