Manchester City club captain Fernandinho has announced he plans to leave the club at the end of the season, with boss Pep Guardiola apparently taken aback by the news.
Fernandinho, who joined City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, has not been a regular starter this season and is out of contract in the summer having signed a 12-month contract extension last year.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid, the 36-year-old former Brazilian midfielder said he would not stay for a 10th campaign.
Asked if he hoped to continue at the Etihad Stadium next season, he said: “No, I want to play regularly. I will go back to Brazil. I decided with my family, which is the most important thing for me”.
Guardiola expressed his surprise at Fernandinho’s announcement when he appeared behind his player at a press conference.
The city chief said: “Oh! I didn’t know. You give me the news. I didn’t hear it. We’ll see what happens. I do not know what will happen. He is so important. I’ll ask him.”
He continued: “At the end of the season we talked. Maybe it’s because of his family. I would love to (if he stayed). We will talk.”
Fernandinho recently started a game for City in the Champions League tie at home against Sporting Lisbon in early March, but Guardiola said his club captain had continued to play a key role.
“Sorry?! Oh…I didn’t know that!” 🤯#MCFC boss Pep Guardiola did NOT know that Fernandinho plans to leave the club at the end of the season 👀 pic.twitter.com/h5TLGqcxdn—SkySportsNews (@SkySportsNews) April 12, 2022
Guardiola said the 36-year-old Brazilian, who made his last Premier League start against Norwich in February, has been “an incredible player for City”.
“The role he plays this season: I like the people who behave behind the scenes,” Guardiola said.
“I know what he has done, behind me he manages many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team.
“I praise him and he was here when I arrived. Raheem (Sterling), Kevin (De Bruyne), John (Stones), some players. We know him well, from the first day until now always here.
“An incredible player for Man City. There are things that nobody knows but I know exactly”.
City hold a slim 1-0 lead over Atletico thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s goal in the first leg as they try to stay on track for the treble.
Guardiola revealed that defender Rubén Dias had returned to training and will travel with the team, and has no new injuries or suspension problems.
The Portuguese centre-back has been out since the beginning of March due to a thigh injury.
Guardiola said: “Maybe (he will play on Wednesday), I don’t know.
“He does one training session and six weeks off… The fact that he is back is incredible and we have a great schedule until the end of the season. They will all be important.”
Enjoy your first month for only £1 / $1 / €1
* Read 5 free articles per month without subscription