City’s latest summer signing has drawn praise far and wide from the football world. 

The Brazil-born Portuguese international made his name with Sporting Lisbon before moving to Wolves last summer, but it was a 5-0 home defeat to City in the Champions League in 2022 that arguably alerted Nunes’ talents to a global audience. 

The reason – apart from a display full of energy and industry – was the praise of City boss Pep Guardiola after the game. 

The Blues boss said: “Sporting are a fantastic team, they are the champions of Portugal, which have a very strong league, with Porto and Benfica, they change the ball well, they have fast and intelligent players.  

“I would say that Matheus Nunes is one of the best players in the world today. Despite the difficulties and some mistakes, I have to be very satisfied because we took a big step towards the next round.” 


Those comments drew the attention of media outlets throughout Europe, with the spotlight firmly on a player the world’s best manager had just signalled out. 

Former Arsenal star Gilberto Silva was quick to suggest Nunes might be a good option for his former club in the days that followed. 

“He plays in Portugal, he’s super adapted to the European game model and that wouldn’t be a barrier for him,” Silva told Portuguese news outlet Record. 

“The Premier League is the most difficult championship in the world, due to the quality of the players and teams and where the coaches are considered the best in the world. 

“And when the praise comes from Pep Guardiola, the world stops to listen, and attention is redoubled - and if Pep says that, it’s because he understands that Matheus Nunes can reach that level. I hope to see Matheus soon in the Premier League.” 

That 0-5 defeat to City hurt Nunes, who was still carving out a career with Sporting and his godfather, Humberto Salvador, says that the words from Guardiola didn’t change his godson one iota. 

“Matheus is a child who puts his feet firmly on the ground, he knows that football is the moment,” he said.

“That defeat hit heavy and hard.” 

But a former Estoril team-mate of Matheus had already been singing his praises a couple of years before. 

Though journalists noted the quotes of Goncalo Santos, they didn’t reach these shores or cause quite the stir that Pep’s opinion had. 

Santos, who has since retired, was speaking before Nunes took Portuguese citizenship –and he believed the dynamic midfielder had the world at his feet. 

“In one game, he went on a run which was about 60 metres, it was amazing!” recalled Santos after the-then 22-year old had helped Sporting win their first Primeira Liga title in 19 years. 

“People went crazy, and everybody was talking about it. 

“It’s unbelievable when he has the ball at his feet. Nobody can catch him; it’s impossible because he’s too fast. 

“Matheus is a box-to-box player. He’s not so strong like midfielders in the Premier League but he’s very fast. He’s very good with the ball because he is a Brazilian boy - they know how to play with the ball. 

“If you are in the defensive phase and he gets the ball, he can run with it and fire the team 30 yards up the pitch because he is so good in possession.” 

Nunes had been continually linked with a move to the Premier League prior to his move to Wolves, with many top English clubs said to be monitoring his situation. 

But it was the Molineux club who followed up that interest by placing an offer that Sporting accepted – though then Wolves boss Bruno Lage joked Pep’s testimonial had increased the Nunes fee! 

“In that moment I was upset with Pep because when Pep does a statement like that the value of the player goes (up)!” the former Wolves boss said. 

“When I am now looking for him, I will need to pay £10million more because when any manager like Pep says one thing about one player, he puts £10million more (on the fee).” 

“I don’t know if anyone else (from a Champions League club) tried to sign him. 

“But it is not about just the money and the club, it is about the project you can offer for him in this moment. 

“What I know is that when I start to work with him, you can see the player he is.” 

During his first season in the Premier League, Nunes also won praise from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and ex-England legend Glenn Hoddle. 

Speaking after a 1-0 FA Cup replay win at Molineux, Klopp observed: “In the moment when you let (Ruben) Neves in the game and it changes everything pretty much and then when Nunes is on the pitch as well then it’s like twice as difficult and we did really well.”  

And on his goal of the season contender for Wolves against Chelsea last April, BT Sport pundit Hoddle said: “What a volley this is! What a goal, Nunes. 

“The ball’s played from Podence into the box, it gets cleared by Koulibaly, but it drops beautifully for him. 

“He’s really at an acute angle, it’s a wonderful, wonderful strike. It’s a fabulous goal, it’s set up beautifully from the angle, he cuts across it, and wow. 

“It’s a little bit Van Basten-ish isn’t it in the Euros? Wow, what a strike.”