It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Manchester City, but they have been at their best on the biggest stages. After a narrow loss in the semi-finals, the only way to bounce back was with a victory in the final. So, after a few tense moments, when Liverpool pulled one back, the title was back with them again.
The Spanish side were a step ahead of the English side in the first half of the game, but the game swung in the English side’s favor after the break.
Manchester City lost to Barcelona on penalties in the Champions League final on Saturday, and their Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho was blamed for the loss after giving away the free kick that led to the game-winning goal. This is his seventh season with the club, and he has been a vital part of their success throughout, filling the much-needed role of the holding midfielder.
Fernandinho could end his career at Manchester City at the highest level in Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea – if he decides to leave.
When City signed the 28-year-old midfielder, who has spent his entire career in Brazil and Ukraine, in 2013, they may have wondered what value they would get for the £30m they gave to Shakhtar Donetsk.
But in his eight seasons with Manchester City, he achieved undisputed success by clinching the Premier League trophy for the fourth time (and first time as regular captain) on Sunday.
It was a very special moment, he told Radio Manchester. If I had looked back eight years when I signed the contract and said: Someday I’ll be a captain and take that trophy, it never occurred to me.
He hasn’t played as much football this season, but he has still played an important role on and off the field. His contract expires next month and a decision on his future has yet to be made.
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Fernandinho recently won his fourth Premier League title and has won the League Cup a record six times (along with Sergio Aguero).
Last year, coach Pep Guardiola called him one of the best players in the club’s history.
His former Manchester City teammate Mick Richards told Radio 5 Live: I remember when Fernandinho moved from Shakhtar to City.
We had a ridiculous run in the preseason and he got sick. And we thought, how can your midfield maestro get sick after just one run?
Sometimes when people come in, all eyes are on them – you can be very critical. Sometimes we look for strengths, but we also look for weaknesses. And after that, we said: We have again contracted someone who cannot compete.
And then we got the balls out and I said wow, and I knew right away he was going to do what he did. He is now 35 years old and still reads the game the same way he did when he started. He is such a smart footballer and he never gives the ball away.
Since coming to England, Fernandinho has won more games than any other player in the Premier League (171 out of 245 games). He also made more assists (13,896).
He is second in interceptions (577) and fourth in interceptions won (400) behind Chelsea duo Cesar Aspilicueta and N’Golo Kante. His 18,909 touches are second only to Aspilicueta’s.
The Brazilian is fifth in tackles won (1,413) and eighth in ball possession won (1,383). Only five players have played more league games (71).
Fernandinho ranks ninth in interceptions (372) and has faced more fouls than any other Premier League player (345) since his debut.
I don’t think there is anyone in world football who is better at making tactical mistakes than Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, said Rory Smith of the New York Times on Radio 5 Live Monday Night Club.
One of Fernandinho’s many qualities is his versatility. He is a supporting midfielder, but under Pep Guardiola he has played every position except goalkeeper and striker.
He is also an attacking threat with 18 goals and 18 assists, including two assists from Sergio Aguero on the final day, in 245 Premier League games.
The moment that turned City’s season around?
Manchester City win 3-0 after 36 minutes in the first game after the crisis encounter at Stamford Bridge – they beat Chelsea 3-1.
Captain Fernandinho – although no longer a regular first-team player – has played a big part in the team’s resurgence this season.
City were in eighth place at the end of 2020, seven points behind Liverpool.
He called a players’ meeting at 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
It is not easy to find these words in these times. It was a really candid conversation – no speeches – and I think they understood that because I’m one of them too, he said.
Sometimes I have the same problems as them, the same doubts as them – I always say to them: I’m in the same boat as you. I think everyone understood that because of the quality he has and that’s what was lacking – good behavior, a good attitude and actions.
Then everything changed, and the result speaks for itself.
City won the next 18 games (after the previous three before this match), captured the title and reached the final of the Champions League. Of the teams in the top five European leagues, only Bayern and Real Madrid have the longest run of victories in all competitions.
Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha said: He’s a series winner and the kind of player you want to play with. The respect he got – there were people I played with who tried to call crisis meetings and people came out of the room laughing.
But here’s a man who, when he talks, people listen. It’s a big part of the football club’s identity.
City midfielder Ilkay Gündogan said:external-link I really cannot express how important Fernandinho is to us as a group.
That’s huge. He obviously hasn’t had as much playing time as the other players in the team this season, but he knows his role, his responsibilities and knows what to say at the right time.
A leader may not be someone who scores goals, plays every minute or has the best passing percentage, but someone who knows what to say in bad times and understands their personal role.
. Is he staying in town? 19
Fernandinho has won six league cups in eight seasons – apart from City and Liverpool (eight each), no other team has won as many.
Fernandinho, now 35, has made the fewest appearances for City in a season (even against Chelsea). He has played 35 games in all competitions, but has only played 1,181 minutes in the Premier League. He played 2,398 minutes in the league last season.
He said: My contract expires next month, but I spoke to the club beforehand and we both decided to talk about my contract again after the season. We’ll see what happens.
I try to live from day to day, so I don’t think it’s fair for me and everyone around me to be thinking about the future and making plans, but you never know what might happen tomorrow.
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