Men's Team

Fernandinho: It’s been a privilege

Fernandinho says his nine years with City have exceeded his wildest dreams.

The City skipper has made 382 appearances since making his debut against Newcastle United in 2013, winning 12 major trophies in the process.

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The 37-year-old will call time on his career with the Club after our final home game of the season against Aston Villa on Sunday and admits he never envisaged having such a lengthy or trophy-laden spell in Manchester.

“I couldn’t imagine being here for such a long time,” said Ferna.

“One thing I know is when I signed for City, I was sure I was giving 100 per cent to win a lot of trophies.

“From the first day, they showed us how to win games and trophies. After, the success, it was normal to extend another contract, so I stayed for nine years.

“I was really excited about my debut to start playing in the Premier League with great players and a great team.

“City had been champions two seasons before, and it was a really special moment for me against Newcastle.

“Not just for me, but for my family as well, because they were with me during this process and transition. It was really special, and I can remember the feeling I had before the game to make my debut.

“It was such a special moment. I think that is why I still have this hunger to play every game, to train every morning and I think this is important for any player.

“Definitely, my last game of the season won’t be any different.”

Though it was Manuel Pellegrini who signed Ferna from Shakhtar Donetsk, the arrival of Pep Guardiola arguably took the Brazilian’s game to another level.

He says Guardiola’s infectious desire to win and play beautiful football, soon transferred to the players resulting in an incredible six-year period under the Catalan boss.

“Since he came, the way City started to play under him was completely different,” he said.

“A different level. The first season we struggled a little bit, but the second season we were flying.

“New players came in and we changed everything. We discovered this hunger to win games and perform well to win trophies.

“This was the key when he changed it. Obviously with his philosophy, his ideas, and the way he can pass the message to the players to help us understand the way he wants us to play is much easier.

“It is so important because we listen to the meetings and then we go to practice on the pitch, and we try to apply it in the games as well.

“When you look back now, you can see that everything is perfect and was really good.

“That is why he is considered one of the best managers in the world. Definitely [he has taken my game to the next level]. When he came, I was 30 already so I had good managers in the past.

“But when I started to work with him, I just started to see football in a different way. I understood football much better, and he makes you see the game in another vision.

“It was amazing for me, and he definitely helped me increase my level and my understanding about football as well.”

A natural leader on and off the pitch, Fernandinho was the obvious choice to replace David Silva as captain when the Spaniard left the Club in 2020.

And when he wasn’t playing, he was shouting from the stands, encouraging, and advising his team-mates from afar.

“I always say, the captains don’t necessarily have to wear the armband,” he said.

“The way I behaved for all of these years, I think I was one of the guys who was always in front of the group, trying to protect and help them the best way I could.

“Obviously when Vinnie went and then David, the players and the staff chose me to be the captain.

“It was an honour and privilege for me, and it is good to be in this position.

“That is why I have got a lot of grey hairs now! I think the position itself; you are already under pressure.

“Especially after two legends [Vinnie and David]. They have been winners and legends for this club.

“They were the captains, and it was a big responsibility. But for me, it was alright, and I knew I was ready for that role. It is a really enjoyable moment for me.

“How will I look back on my time here? I think one word can describe it: proud. Since the first day, the intention was to win trophies and then we did it.

“The whole group, the whole team and the whole staff were involved and when I look back, I feel really proud. Everything I planned, we did.”

And of his bond with the City supporters, Ferna says he will never forget their loyalty, respect and love during his time playing in sky blue.

“The fans have been amazing since my first day here,” he smiled.

“Really respectful, polite, supportive. Every time I go into town or the park for a walk with my kids, they show their respect and their support.

“This is amazing and really nice. I am not sure if you can find fans like this in another place or other teams.

“My family and I, we were always treated really well here in Manchester.

“That is why I spent nine years here as the kids were settled in school with friends, my wife was settled as well.

“They are going to be City fans for sure. I could be Mancunian!

“You never know in the future. Maybe I could come back here to spend more time in Manchester. We will see.”

Fernandinho: A Dream in my Heart
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