IT WILL be make-your-mind-up time for Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and on-loan midfielder Paulo Bernardo at the end of May.

The Portuguese playmaker’s season-long loan from Benfica is due to expire at the completion of the campaign with the Scottish Cup Final scheduled for the iconic date of May 25 at Hampden.

After the curtain has come down on a topsy-turvy term, Rodgers and the player will have to make a decision about his future.

Roger Schmidt, the Lisbon giants’ head coach, has spoken about the possibility of Bernardo, who just turned 22 last month, remaining at Parkhead.

BOXING DAY BREAKTHROUGH…Paulo Bernardo claims the opening goal in the 3-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park.

The middle-of-the-park operator had a false start at the Hoops, but sparked to life in the 3-0 Boxing Day win over Dundee at Dens Park when he scored the crucial breakthrough goal after the interval.

He kept up the good work with a sensational first-time strike in the Glasgow derby four days later and was a stand-out in Rodgers’ side’s 2-1 triumph.

The Irishman spoke last month about the chances of Bernardo becoming a permanent fixture in Glasgow and insisted the fee in the option-to-buy clause in his temporary contract was not a deal-breaker, as CQN reported.

Quizzed about the stylish midfielder returning to his parent club or staying at Celtic, Benfica chief Schmidt, speaking to the media, answered: “You have to remember it’s also about the will of the player and what he wants to do.

HEAD FIRST…Paulo Bernardo is challenged by Dante Polvaro as he makes a brave effort to connect with the ball in the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen as boss Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline.

“With all the players who leave Benfica, the idea is to give them the opportunity to develop and gain confidence.

“And, of course, it’s always an excellent opportunity for Benfica to watch them. The aim is to have a good overview of all the players.

“But we have to make difficult decisions afterwards at the end of the season, because we also have to respect the player’s wishes.”

Filipe Jota, of course, had an impressive year-long loan at the champions after arriving from the Lisbon team in August 2021.

The fans’ favourite made the switch permanent when he signed in a £6.5million move 12 months later and the Portuguese club picked up a whopping percentage of the sell-on fee when he shifted to Saudi Arabia for £25million in July last year.

Bernardo may be poised to follow in the footsteps of his one-time team-mate.

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