BRENDAN RODGERS has 10 games – hopefully – to make up his mind on Paulo Bernardo’s Celtic future.

There are indications the Hoops gaffer may have already made the decision on the midfielder who arrived from Benfica in the summer on a season-long loan.

Bernardo had a slow start at the champions, but ignited in his new surroundings just before the turn of the year with an eye-catching performance in the 3-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park on Boxing Day when he scored his first goal for the Hoops.

And the former Portuguese Under-21 international playmaker followed that up with a memorable volleyed strike in another solid display in the 2-1 deby triumph at Parkhead four days later.

NUMBER ONE…Paulo Bernardo squeezes the ball past Dundee keeper Trevor Carson for his debut goal for Celtic in the 3-0 win at Dens Park on Boxing Day.

Rodgers is reported to have already stated he wants to keep £6.3million-rated Bernardo, but local sports media outlet Abola insist the Hoops hierarchy “will push the matter towards the end of the season to try to renegotiate the price”.

The 22-year-old middle-of-the-park operator is under contract at the Lisbon giants until 2027, but has failed to convince head coach Roger Schmidt of his suitability for a regular place in his first-team squad.

Looking at Bernardo and other players currently out on temporary deals, the Benfica team chief recently admitted: “All the players we loan out are to give them practice and opportunities to develop, gain confidence and be increasingly responsible.

“That’s our idea, to have a good overview. Then, at the end of the season, we will have to make difficult decisions, because we also have to respect the player’s wishes.”

It was a similar situation with Filipe Jota who went on loan to the Hoops in August 2021 as part of the Ange Postecoglou revolution.

VOLLEY GOOD…Paulo Bernardo lashes Celtic into the lead in the 2-1 derby triumph at Parkhead on December 30.

There was a £6.5million transfer clause in the contract and the Parkhead side triggered the deal 12 months later. The Portuguese outfit received a whopping 40 per cent fee of the profits of the sell-on fee when the Celtic fans’ favourite moved to Saudi Arabia for £25million in July last year.

It’s likely Benfica will want a written understanding along those lines if Bernardo was to follow his former youth team-mate and leave Glasgow in a massive switch a year or so later.

Bernardo has eight Premiership games – starting with the trip to Livingston a week on Sunday – and possibly two Scottish Cup-ties to show Rodgers he is worth a five-year deal at the champions.

The holders are due to play Aberdeen in the semi-final of the national competition at Hampden on Saturday April 20 with the silverware showpiece due on the iconic date of May 25.

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