Brighton & Hove Albion academy coach Liam Rosenior expressed his admiration for former team-mate Bruno, who he identifies as one of the best footballers he played alongside throughout his career.
The Spaniard announced that he would be hanging up his boots afters Sunday’s match against Manchester City at the Amex Stadium, and Rosenior reflected on his first memories of Bruno.
He said, “I remember Bruno from before I even met him. I was playing for Hull against Brighton at the Amex, and he was absolutely the best player on the pitch by far, he was a class above everyone.
“I came here as a right-back to challenge Bruno for that shirt, and also left-back, and I remember the first time I met Bruno, I said to him 'I voted for you as the best right-back in the Championship’.
“He must have been 34 or 35 when he told me it was his dream to play in the Premier League, like it was never going to happen for him, but I told him it would happen.
“To see him lead the club out in the way he’s done at the highest level and play so well, it’s been an absolute pleasure to watch.”
Rosenior shared the dressing room with Bruno for three seasons, as the Seagulls gained promotion to the Premier League, and the under-23 coach continued to heap praise on the club captain.
“Bruno and I have had such an unbelievable relationship. We’re not even best mates, we’re like brothers now. It’s an absolute joy to see someone that stands for so much good to be so successful for such a long period of time.
“It’s no coincidence, because of his discipline, temperament and empathy for others — he cares about people, and that’s not even taking his qualities as a footballer into account.
“He’s one of the best pure footballers that I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. I have so much admiration for what the man has achieved.
“Bruno is an absolute diamond in the dressing room, because he leads by example. He’s not a big shouter or big talker, but it’s the way he lives and sets standards and values for the rest of the squad and club.
“The club have been so lucky to have somebody that stands for the right values. It’s all the things that we’ve been built on over the past few years, which is hard work, being humble and being successful.”
Rosenior backed the Amex crowd to provide Bruno with a reception to remember on Sunday afternoon, and hopes the 38-year-old will remain at the club in some capacity after making a decision this summer.
“I’m sure every player, supporter and person that works at the football club will show him so much respect and appreciation on Sunday.
“It’s a hard thing retiring, you go from doing something you love as a boy to giving it up. But throughout Bruno’s career, he’s shown the way you should live and be as a professional footballer.
“I know 100% that we’ll give him the send-off that he deserves, and hopefully he stays at this club for as long as he wants, because he can be a key person for this club moving forward.”