Bruno Guimarães: Total Player Report

Bruno Guimarães joined Newcastle United from Olympique Lyon in a reported £40,000,000 deal. The 24-year-old Brazilian earned the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs and this report will help illustrate the reasons why.


Position and style


Bruno Guimarães is a right-footed central midfielder who most logically fits the rough profile of a deep-lying playmaker. Comfortable in a double 6 as well as a pivot, especially alongside the more aggressive and proactive defensive midfielder Maxence Caqueret, with Lyon Bruno established himself as a versatile centre mid.


He carried more of the creative burden, but he was also active in his defensive work and possesses a natural tenacity and sense of timing that lends itself well to winning possession in key midfield areas.


 (39) formed a strong central midfield bond with talented Frenchman Maxence Caqueret (25) at Lyon

He is a technically gifted passer, and his long passing – supplemented by an excellent eye to spot the pass – is especially impressive. Bruno works really well when found in space within the middle third where he can thread and weigh his passes between markers.


When receiving the ball Bruno is often making initial movements and taking the kinds of touches that can free up a few yards of space.


When his team is controlling possession, Bruno is often found occupying advanced attacking midfield positions – at Lyon this would work to support their defined, more attacking number 10, Houssem Aouar.


While he has strengths off the ball, especially in attempting to win the ball, Bruno Guimarães’ biggest strengths are found in possession within the scope of a creative playmaker.


Bruno Guimarães heat maps in all competitions in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021


Creation of space, passing and creativity


Bruno Guimarães is extremely gifted in his passing, his technique and execution are especially excellent, so this seems like a good place to start with the technical breakdown.



Guimarães is often the first line-breaking playmaker, it is his job to move the ball from a controlled midfield position into an offensive phase. This means he frequently plays through balls into space between and beyond defensive markers.


These aren’t necessarily the kind of passes that put attackers into goal-scoring positions, Bruno doesn’t provide many actual assists, rather his through passes create a foundation for attacking moves. Across the past five years – approximately 14,000 minutes played – Guimarães has more second assists (15) than actual assists (13).


The key stand out here statistically is Bruno’s passing into the final third.


Bruno Guimarães passes to final third against Saint-Étienne, Troyes, Metz, Lille, Bordeux


Since 2017, Bruno has maintained 83% pass accuracy for his passing into the final third; it works out at just under 10 of these passes per 90-minute appearance. This method of passing is a key component in the player’s arsenal and speaks a lot for his general stylistic approach to playmaking.


His strength in this area of his game is further emphasized but in even tighter, even more dangerous spaces by Bruno’s passing into the opposition penalty area (2.5 per 90, 59% accurate).


If Bruno has the time to pick his pass, he demonstrates a consistent capability to find a high-quality target in high-quality areas.


In order to find the time to pick those passes, he needs to work space in often packed midfield areas. Guimarães has a style of dribbling and control that caters towards this necessity.



Bruno Guimarães is not really blessed with typical pace, but he is a strong runner who can be difficult to stop once he gains momentum. His touches can be quite heavy, he isn’t particularly agile but he is intelligent with his ball control. He repeatedly looks to commit defensive challenges and times a touch to move the ball away from it.


With these touches, Guimarães is able to resist an opposition press and manifest for himself the 3-5 yards of clear space he needs to get his head up, quickly assess his receiving options and execute the pass that can advance his team from midfield to attacking phases.


This style of dribbling and ball control – one focused more on facilitating his passing game than on beating markers with Bruno in possession of the ball – means that he performs those actions sparingly but also effectively. Across that 5 year sample, he performs 2.6 dribbles per 90, 62% of which are successful.


The final point to touch on regarding Bruno Guimarães’ technical capacity in terms of playmaking is his long passing. His vision, range and technical execution is very impressive.



If playmaking and laying foundations for quality offensive phases is Bruno Guimarães’ greatest strength, his long passing is arguably the greatest strength within that aspect of his game.


Since 2017 Bruno averages 4.3 long passes per 90 with 66% accuracy. Finding your target with two-thirds of your long passes across such a large period of games, especially if the passes are played into the kinds of areas Bruno’s are, within the context of playmaking and enabling offensive phases, is really impressive.


There is no hesitance from Bruno in playing a high-risk long pass after he identifies his targetted receiver. He carries a lot of confidence in his own ability to be accurate with his passing, and the usually successful execution is an expected result of that confidence. He is a naturally very gifted passer of the ball, and this is reflected in every aspect of that attribute – psychological, physical and technical.


Bruno Guimarães’ creative game, and the attributes he has that facilitate it, are the main focus of analysis but they aren’t his only effective aspects.


Ball winning and defending


In terms of the raw statistics, Bruno’s defensive game holds up. He isn’t a natural defensive midfielder, he doesn’t have the physical prowess to cover the kind of ground you would expect from a typical number 6 or the aggression in his tenacity to fully impose himself defensively, this is usually left to his midfield parter, but Bruno does commit to certain defensive actions consistently and effectively enough for it to be regarded as an asset.


His pressing in offensive areas, and particularly the tackling and direct attempts to win the ball following a press in these areas, is very strong.



Bruno Guimarães shows really good timing in his tackling. Across the sample featured, he commits to 8.3 defensive duels per 90, winning 63% and committing 1.6 fouls. His loose ball duels – or ’50-50′ challenges – stand at 3 per 90 with 47% won. Bruno isn’t a natural defender but he knows how to win the ball.



Over the past twelve months, among comparable players, Guimarães sits in the 96th percentile for tackles attempted and the 99th percentile for tackles won.


His pressing figures put him in the top 5% and his middle third pressing, in particular, is very active.


He is a centre mid who clearly enjoys the 1 v 1 defensive duel. He is robust and difficult to move once his centre of gravity is set and his balance is right.


At 6’0″ and 78 kg, Guimarães can be a formidable opponent when challenging for the ball in midfield battles. He certainly possesses the right attitude towards that kind of work. He seems to enjoy it.


There is again a focus here on Bruno’s willingness to facilitate his team’s offensive game. But rather than supplying the passes to give platform to high quality attacking phases, here he is active in winning possession in these high-quality areas.


Bruno’s defensive work isn’t typical of a central midfielder, at least not one with a focus on the defensive game – his positioning quite often aggressively puts him in the attacking third when out of possession, and he doesn’t perform the anticipatory or positional defensive actions like interceptions very consistently. Rather his defensive work allows him to further support his team’s attacking game.

Set pieces and shooting


He is capable of delivering a tidy set-piece. Particularly when crossing the ball from a corner or wide free-kick:



There is a natural aptitude for these kinds of crosses.


His shooting is passable if not particularly impressive. Bruno doesn’t carry the instincts of a goal scorer, not even within the scope of a central midfielder. The positions he occupies are often sound in terms of goal scoring, he likes to support attacking moves with late runs and he takes up spaces on the edge of the area regularly when his team hold possession, but he isn’t very strong in his shooting generally.


Shot maps from 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021


This is an area to work on because his positional game would theoretically lend itself well to more direct goal threat in the future. Bruno hasn’t yet found a way to transfer the accuracy and surety he shows in his passing over to his shooting.


He has scored ten goal across the all competition sample of close to 14,000 minutes. One or two of these highlight the potential in his movement and positioning, but generally speaking, this aspect of his game is underwhelming.



Unlike his creative game, which is already demonstrably effective, Bruno’s more direct goalscoring capacity firmly sits within the realm of untapped potential. His preparation is good – movement, positioning, the intellectual aspects – but his technique is awkward.


Bruno Guimarães


At 24 years old, Bruno Guimarães is entering his golden age and his best years are ahead of him. He possesses a level of technical capability that can set him apart among comparable players in his position; his passing is at times phenomenal, his vision to see the receiver and the confidence he has in his own ability to regularly execute the pass could put Bruno within a very select, truly elite group of playmakers.


Not only does Bruno Guimarães have the technical capacity, but he also possesses the positional instincts and understanding necessary to pull strings from the midfield and facilitate the transition between controlled middle third possession and dangerous, high quality final third phases. He has the brain of a natural playmaker in charge of his playmaker’s right foot.


There is still a degree of rawness in the player, he isn’t a finished article. But he is already operating at a very high level and his next step could be to the top of the European game. Bruno Guimarães has all the tools to reach that level,  at this point he just needs the practice and the experience. But even if he plateaus over the next 2-3 years, and remains the player he is today without any marked improvement, he will still be a genuinely impressive playmaker and effective centre mid. The next step will decide the difference between Bruno being really good or Bruno being great.


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