PAULO BERNARDO hopes to be playing in Scotland next season – but the loan Bhoy is still not certain if it will be with Celtic.

The Benfica playmaker’s temporary transfer at the champions is due to expire in June when all will be revealed over the desination of his future.

Like his fellow-Portuguese Filipe Jota, Bernardo could make the switch permanent with a fee of £6million mentioned to secure his services – if both parties are convinced it is the right move.

The stylish midfielder sparked to life in the 3-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park on Boxing Day which was quickly followed by his whizzbang opener in the 2-1 derby day triumph at a pulasating Parkhead four days later.

GREEN FOR GO…Paulo Bernardo shows off his ball-juggling skills in the 2-0 Scottish Cup win over St Mirren. 

He is now displaying the form that attracted the Hoops recruitment team in the first place and won him over 20 Under-21 international caps for his country.

Bernardo is looking forward to an October date at Hampden when Portugal play Scotland in the UEFA Nations League encounter – and he hopes to team up with his footballing idol Cristiano Ronaldo.

The world superstar celebrated his 39th birthday five days ago and is a remarkable SEVENTEEN years the borrowed Celt’s senior.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus icon is now topping up his pension with a money-laden contract at Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr, but shows no signs of slowing down at club or country level.
Looking ahead to the October fixture, Bernardo said: “Will Ronaldo be playing? Probably yes!. You never know. He’s 39 now, but he keeps going.

“I don’t know if I will be playing at that age. I’ll need to look after my body like he does. But it is not just that. It is his mental strength. He is absolutely incredible.

DERBY DELIGHT…Paulo Bernardo slams in the opener in Celtic’s 2-1 victory over their Ibrox rivals in December.

“Do I see him as a role model? Of course. He is like an idol to every player.

“We all look up to him. It’s a maybe bit much to expect to achieve all the things that he has done and is still doing. But he is an inspiration to every player.

“He came from nothing and he succeeded and achieved so much. We always look to him and try to do our best as well.”

Discussing the possibility of lining up alongside Ronaldo at Scotland’s national stadium, Bernardo, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I have always dreamt about playing for the national team.
“It is an ambition of mine – and it is also a big motivation to get to that stage and play for my country.”

In the meantime, Bernardo will be focusing on Saturday’s visit from Kilmarnock, a team who have caused problems for Brendan Rodgers’ men this season.

UP FOR THE CUP…Paulo Bernardo lobs the ball over the Buckie Thistle keeper for Celtic’s first in the 5-0 Scottish Cup triumph last month.

It was Derek McInnes’ outfit who knocked the holders out of the League Cup in August and inflicted a dramatic comeback victory at Rugby Park in December.

Bernardo, who came off the substitutes’ bench in the 2-0 Scottish Cup success over St Mirren in Paisley on Sunday, added: “We have a long season with ups and downs.

“We just have to stick together, the players, the coaches and the fans, to keep going and keep improving. We’ve had some injuries, but I think we are doing quite well.

“If I keep developing my game, that will make things easier for me in the future, as well. I feel I am improving a lot here.
“All of my focus is on the now.”
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