Fernandinho could end his Manchester City career at the highest highs of the Champions League final against Chelsea on Sunday if he decides to leave.
When City signed the 28-year-old midfielder who had spent all his career in Brazil and Ukraine back in 2013, people may have wondered how much they would get in the £ 30m offer they gave Shakhtar Donetsk.
But he has been an unbeaten success in eight seasons at Manchester. He was lifting the Premier League trophy for the fourth time on Sunday. And for the first time as a permanent captain.
“It was an extraordinary moment,” he said. “If I look back to the time of eight years ago when I have signed here and said, ‘oh, I’ll be captain one day and get to lift this trophy. It wouldn’t have come to my mind.”
He hasn’t played much this season. But he still plays a significant role on and off the field. His contract expires next month before a decision has been made on his future.
How Fernandinho turned around the early doubts to become a legend?
Fernandinho recently won his fourth Premier League title. And he has won the League Cup a combined six times, equivalent to Sergio Aguero.
Boss Pep Guardiola called him one of the best players in the team’s history last year.
Former Manchester City team-mate Micah Richards said: “I still do remember the time when Fernandinho first came to City from Shakhtar.
“In the pre-season, we were all done with a ridiculous run, and he also was very sick. So we were thinking, how can your midfield maestro throw up after one run?
“Sometimes when people come, and everything is visible to them. And you can easily judge them too much. You want strength sometimes but also a weakness. So after that, it was like ‘signing another winner’ ‘I can keep up.
“Then we took out the balls. And I was like ‘ow.’ And I didn’t know he was going to do what he did. He’s 35 now, and he’s still learning the game like he was when he first came.
Since Fernandinho moved to England, he has won more games than anyone in the Premier League 171 games in his 245 games. He has completed some passes (13,896).
Brazil is a fifth of four (1,413) duels and the eighth of his time (1,383). Only five players participated in the clean sheets (71).
Fernandinho is the ninth in the league (372) and has conceded more mistakes than anyone else since he started playing (345).
“I don’t think that there is anyone in the world who is better off. And if they make any kind of mistake. Other than Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets,” Rory Smith said.
One of Fernandinho’s many qualities is his variety. He is a commercial midfielder. But he has played in all positions except goalkeeper and forward under Pep Guardiola.
He also threatens to move forward with 18 goals and 18 assists, including two of Sergio Aguero on the final day in 245 Premier League games.
The moment that changed City’s season?
Captain Fernandinho, although no longer in the first team, has played a crucial role in their recovery this season.
The City was in eighth place, seven behind Liverpool, in late 2020.
He called a meeting of the players at 7 am on New Year’s Day.
“It was not so easy for us to find out those words during the games and those days. It was an open conversation, no speech, and I think they got it because I am one of them,” he said.
“I have the same problems. They sometimes have the same doubts as I always say to them, ‘I am on the same ship like yours.’
“After that, everything has changed. And the result always speaks for itself.”
The City had won their next 18 games, having won three matches before the conference, walked away with the title.
And are in the Champions League final. Of Europe’s top five leagues, only Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have ever had the longest competition.
The Ex-Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha said: “He’s a serial winner and the type of player you always want to play with. The respect he has, there are some people I’ve played with who try to call disaster meetings, and people laugh at him.
“But here’s a guy. When he talks, people listen. He’s a big part of the ownership of a football club.”
The Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said: “I can’t express how vital Fernandinho is to us as a team.
“He’s tremendous. He hasn’t got the same game time as the rest of the team this season. But he knows his role, his responsibility, and what he says at the right time.
“The leader is probably not the one who always scores the goals. The leader who plays every minute or with the highest pass rate. He is the one who knows what to say in bad times and understands his role.”
Will Fernandinho stay in City?
Fernandinho, now 35, has made his slightest appearance for City this season even if he plays for Chelsea.
He has played a total of 35 games in all competitions, but he has only managed 1,181 minutes in the Premier League. Last season he had played upto 2,398 minutes in the league.
He said: “My contract expires next month. But I have spoken to the club before, and we both decided to come back. And will now talk about my contract after the end of the season. We will see what happens.
“I try to live every day. So I don’t think it’s right for all the people around me. And me to think about the future and start making plans. But you never know what might happen tomorrow.”