Matilde Fidalgo says joining City is one of her most treasured memories.

The right-back signed for the Club last summer from Campeonato Nacional Champions Sporting Clube de Braga, leaving her home country for the first time to make the move to Manchester. 

We caught up with the defender, who celebrates her 26th birthday today, looking back on the best moments of her career 

“Signing with Manchester City has been one of the highlights,” she smiled. 

“I remember the day when my agent told me that the Club was interested and despite the excitement, I kept the secret until the day I signed and shared the news! 

“I’ll never forget the day I got on the plane to Manchester to sign my contract. 

“It is up there in the list with my first official game, my titles with Benfica and Sporting de Braga, my Champions League debut and my debuts for Portugal. 

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                        Fidalgo: I’ll never forget the day I signed for City!

Following a thoroughly enjoyable pre-season Women’s International Champions Cup tournament in North Carolina, Fidalgo’s first taste of English football could not have been more momentous: the first professional women’s Manchester Derby – at the Etihad Stadium and home of the Premier League Champions no less. 

The clash proved as entertaining as it was significant, as City drew first blood to paint Manchester Blue with Caroline Weir’s rocket of a winning goal, sending the league record 30,000 fans in attendance wild! 

The strike marked another cherished moment for Fidalgo – her first and favourite goal with City. 

As a team, Caroline’s goal against United at the Etihad was a great goal, especially because it was our first derby in the Etihad with a great crowd,” she recalled. 

“This is the most memorable goal of my time at City. 

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Although a right-back by trade, Fidalgo is no stranger to scoring goals herself. 

Born in Lisbon, she began her professional career with CF Benfica in 2009 and bagged ten goals in 62 appearances – an impressive return for a defender! 

It was for As Águias (the Eagles) that she netted her all-time favourite strike: in the Champions League too! 

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I have a few favourite goals but my personal favourite was with Football Benfica in the Champions League,” she explained. 

“It was my first game in the competition. 

“Unfortunately, I have never managed to watch a replay of the goal but it came from a corner. 

I stayed because I usually do not get to the box but I managed to kick it nicely and it was actually a very beautiful goal. 

That is my favourite goal. 

                        Fidalgo: I’ll never forget the day I signed for City!

Fidalgo savoured trophy success with Benfica, clinching the 2014/15 and 2015/16 national titles and captaining the side. 

She was nominated Best Player by the Sindicato dos Jogadores Profissionais de Futebol before joining Sporting Clube de Portugal and S.C. Braga, where she added to her collection of silverware. 

Also just two appearances shy of 50 for her country, the Portugal star holds many unforgettable memories – but which was her favourite game of all? 

It was against Romania with the Portuguese National Team,” she revealed, “in the play-offs that led us for the first time to a final in Europe. 

I remember that day very well because it was already a very intense and emotional day – it was the closest we had been to a final and we were almost there. 

“It was also my brother’s wedding and I could not be there so for me, we really had to win that game because if I could not be at his wedding, we had to go to the final. 

                        Fidalgo: I’ll never forget the day I signed for City!

So, despite all the pressure I was under, I also had this feeling that I really needed to make it count. 

“It felt like the game was never coming to an end and we were exhausted because we’d had the first leg a few days before against Romania in Portugal and drew 0-0. 

“These games are very demanding with a huge emotional pressure, so you could really feel your legs trembling. I remember that very well. 

“We had to go into extra-time and we scored. The emotional explosion when we scored the goal was incredible! 

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“After that, we lost a little bit of control in the game and the last minutes were really intense… but we ended up winning 

We used to play this song from the Portuguese singer Mariza called ‘The best of me’ and at the end of the game, they played that song and I remember seeing tears, laughter, joy, happiness… every possible emotion in that changing room! 

I also received a message from my younger brother congratulating me for the win. I still have the screenshot of that message. 

“I will never forget that day. 

Happy birthday, Matilde!