Fernandinho has revealed he is set to leave Manchester City at the end of the season. The Brazil international turns 37 next month but says he is ready to quit the Blues and return to Brazil to keep playing regular football.
That will bring to an end a remarkable nine-year career with City, in which he has won four Premier League titles, six League Cups, an FA Cup and played in a Champions League final. The Brazil ace is also the club’s longest-serving player and current club captain.
The Blues had discussed the possibility of him staying in some capacity, even as a player depending on how the season pans out, but lack of opportunity appears to have made up the midfielder’s mind, as he wants to extend his playing career. Fernandinho initially said he did not think he would stay this year.
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And when asked to expand speaking at the pre-Atletico Madrid press conference, he said: “I want to play. I will go back to Brazil. I decided with my family, which is the most important thing for me. It is the same as last season. I’m not playing much but I take care of other players and try to help wherever I can — on or off the pitch.”
That means this season is the last chance for Fernandinho to lift the Champions League trophy, with City preparing to face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the quarter-final tomorrow night, with a 1-0 lead from last week’s game at the Etihad Stadium .
Fernandinho could start, with first choice Rodri being in the middle of two games against Liverpool in the space of six days. But he said that he was not surprised that he had not been given more games this season, playing just 13 times in the Premier League:
“After nine years and maybe after the 2018-19 season when I changed my position maybe could be one of the reasons. It was hard for me to recover it. With age, it is hard for me but I put myself in a position to try to help the team as I have always done.”
Fernandinho’s experience is still a huge asset on and off the field, and Pep Guardiola could turn to him in the hot atmosphere of the Wanda Metropolitano, where cool heads will be needed following Atletico’s dabble with the dark arts of football last week.
That included a blatant attempt to kick sub Jack Grealish off the pitch, and Fernandinho revealed he had been sent on as a virtual minder. He said: “I came on the pitch at the end of the game to get Jack out and I think that was really important.
“We have emotions, we have feelings and we have to be ready for everything and any circumstances. I think the main thing is just that we need to focus on ourselves and the way we have to play, our football, the tactics we will adopt in this game and how we can hurt them and try to create chances to score goals.These are the kind of games we have to be ready for any circumstances.
“We have to focus on the game, ourselves, to play our football and hurt them with the ball, creating chances to score goals. Obviously it will be a hostile environment but we have to be ready for that. In these situations, anything is possible and it is going to be really important to concentrate for 90 minutes.”
The club will be desperate to send him out on a high with another winner’s medal or two, and adding that Champions League winner’s gong to his collection. I have played as a sub in the final last year, but that ended in bitter disappointment.
He said: “I think the final hurts everybody in the club, it was so hard for us but in the meantime we were so proud because to play in the Champions League final, especially the way we played, and we have a chance to go We are here again and we will try to make the end again.
“Over the years we learn a lot of things in football and life. Being the oldest player in the team, I was able to guide the team to keep going, not to give up and to start and to go again this season. We started this season, we struggled a bit but now we achieve our shape and our best shape and I hope we can reach the Champions League final again.
“Disappointment is a part of football and life. We have to learn to live with that, otherwise you are not in the right place. You have a chance to go again. Last year, we lost it. We are here again and are going to try again.
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