Pep Guardiola’s surprised reaction to Fernandinho’s Man City exit

Pep Guardiola was taken back by Fernandinho’s announcement that he is set to quit the club at the end of the season. The midfielder spoke at a press conference previewing tomorrow’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.

And after the 36-year-old Brazil international left the room, Guardiola sat in the same seat five minutes later and was asked by MEN Sport reporter Simon Bajkowski what he thought about the player preparing to go. He was visibly surprised and replied: “I didn’t know it. Simon, you gave me the news. We will see what will happen at the end of the season. I said many times we will see what happens.”

When asked later whether that meant he might still intervene and try to get the 36-year-old midfielder to change his mind, Guardiola said: “I said at the end of the season we will talk,. Maybe it is a family decision, maybe he wants more minutes. I would love to be with him.”

ALSO READ: Fernandinho on his shock Man City exit decision

Fernandinho could figure against Atletico Madrid tomorrow night, but admitted he is leaving because he wants to play more football. Guardiola says that his role, on the field and off it, is extremely important.

He said: “The role of Ferna I said many times this season I like the types of person for the players, they behave for the benefit behind the scenes and no one knows it. I know what he has done behind me, how he handles many of the biggest stars we have for the benefit of the team and this is a real captain.

“That is why I praise him. I arrived and he was here, with Raheem (Sterling) and Kevin (De Bruyne), and I arrived with Gundo and John (Stones). We know each other well.

“He is always, from day one, an incredible football player for Manchester City – the trophies and the minutes. And there are things that nobody knows but I know.”

Fernandinho is set to leave City

When asked whether Fernandinho should have told him of his plans before he sat in front of the media, Guardiola said maybe it had been a lack of communication within the club — he does not get involved in player contract talks, which are left to football director Txiki Begiristain.

But it was still a bit of an embarrassment to the manager to hear it from a reporter. He said that knowing the player, it will not have been a deliberate ploy, adding: “Maybe Txiki knows it and didn’t tell me, I don’t know it is a surprise for me, I say to him what happened but I know his intentions and another player would do it for his benefit. Knowing Fern, it will not, it happens.”

But he said Fernandinho has his full backing if his decision is final: “Absolutely. I want the happiness of my players and absolutely we are going to play tomorrow for him and give him the best farewell moment, reaching again the semi-finals of the Champions League and try to go through again.

“I understand the players want to play, it is completely understandable. Not just because he is 35, 36 look what happened with Ferran Torres — he wanted to play.

“I understand go back to Brazil, with the father, mother there and I am pretty sure the club is going to help him do what he wants.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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