Front to back
After being born in Viluco de Buin, a metropolitan area of Chile’s capital Santiago, Bravo started to hone his skills from a young age. His father noticed Claudio’s talent and elected to drive his son to the training ground of Colo-Colo, where he would sign for the academy at Chile’s most successful club.
Bravo initially grabbed Colo-Colo’s attention as a striker but after short stints in midfield and defensive roles, he asked to be played in goal for the club’s ‘Cadete’ team and that is where he would stay.
While plying his trade in Chile’s top flight between 2002 and 2006, Bravo became known as ‘Condor Chico’, roughly translated as ‘young Condor’. This was designed in order to compare the shot stopper to Chile’s most legendary goalkeeper; Roberto Antonio ‘Condor’ Rojas.
Roberto Rojas is proud to share the title with Bravo. In December 2015 he said: “I place him as one of the two best goalkeepers in the world with Manuel Neuer.”
Set piece specialist
Scoring goals isn’t what goalkeepers are renowned for but Bravo has done it anyway!
While playing for Real Sociedad against Gimnastic de Tarragona, Bravo stepped up to take a free-kick from the edge of the area. His low strike was deflected past the goalkeeper to give Bravo his only professional goal to date.
Since making his international debut at the 2004 Copa America, Bravo has not looked back. The 33-year-old is now the most capped footballer in Chilean history with 106 caps, ahead of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, who has made 101 appearances for his country.
Since taking over as captain of his national side, La Roja have beaten South America’s best in the summers of both 2015 and 2016 to become Copa America champions. As well as leading his country to their first major honours, Bravo was voted as the best goalkeeper at both tournaments.
Trophies keep coming
All the energy Bravo has saved by not having to pick the ball out of his net must have been spent lifting trophies! As well as the aforementioned Copa America victories, Bravo collected five winners’ medals in his two years at Barcelona including two La Liga titles and a Champions League triumph.
On a personal note, Bravo collected the Ricardo Zamora trophy, given to the La Liga goalkeeper with fewest goals conceded, at the end of the 2014-15 season. He was only narrowly beaten by Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak in 2015-16.
According to WhoScored, Bravo made an average of 2.7 saves per game during the 2015/16 La Liga season with almost half of these coming from shots inside the penalty area. He also made 26.7 passes per game.
The same site describes Bravo’s strengths as his reflexes, shot stopping and concentration. Perhaps more impressively, the site does not see City’s new goalkeeper as having any weaknesses to his game.