It wasn’t a surprise to learn that Manchester City captain Fernandinho plans to leave the club this summer in search of more playing time, but it certainly was surprising to hear that manager Pep Guardiola had no idea that was the case.
The Brazilian midfielder, who turns 37 next month, was speaking to the media ahead of City’s second leg against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and revealed that he’d return home after the season.
No surprise there, given his age and City’s expectations, but how about Pep?
“Oh, I didn’t know,” Guardiola said. “You give me the news. I didn’t hear it. We will see what happens. I don’t know what will happen. He is so important. I’ll ask him. … At the end of the season we talk, maybe it’s because of his family. I would love it. We will talk.”
Guardiola still values Fernandinho, hopes he’ll stay
Guardiola said Fernandinho’s consistency and good attitude make him invaluable to City, whose players all have to learn their roles in Manchester.
“The role he plays this season, I like the people who behave behind the scenes,” Guardiola said of Fernandinho. “I know what he has done, behind me, he handles many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team. …We know him well, from day one to now always here. An incredible player for Man City. There are things nobody knows but I know exactly.”
Fernandinho’s made 23 appearances for City this season, scoring a goal and adding two assists across 1,218 minutes. He’s on track to play the fewest minutes since he was at Shakhtar Donetsk for the 2010-11 season.
It’s fitting that he make the most of his few years left as a player, but we’re guessing Guardiola had already lined up Fernandinho as a future member of his backroom staff.
Could something change before the end of the season? Fernandinho didn’t close the door.
I was 100% honest and spontaneous in answering that question at today's press conference. But anyone who knows me also knows that my greatest honesty is with Man City and my duties as team captain.
— Fernandinho (@fernandinho) April 12, 2022