Fernandinho has insisted he is fully focused on Manchester City’s quest for the treble after his shock announcement this would be his final season at the club.
The 36-year-old club captain gave Pep Guardiola a surprise when revealing he would not be extending his nine-year stay with City beyond this season.
Guardiola was clearly taken aback by Fernandinho’s announcement after he had followed him into a press conference for Wednesday night’s Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid.
My focus is 100% on winning all the titles we are playing for and I will only talk about my future at the end of the season. Let’s keep pushing! 💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/MGVcf6VVz0— Fernandinho (@fernandinho) April 12, 2022
The Brazilian midfielder, restricted to 13 Premier League appearances this season, later released a statement on Twitter to clarify his position.
He said: “I was 100 per cent 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.
“My focus is 100 per cent on winning all the titles we are playing for and I will only talk about my future at the end of the season. Let’s keep pushing!”
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
Fernandinho, who joined City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, is out of contract in the summer having signed a 12-month contract extension last year.
Asked if he expected to still be 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 for me.”
Guardiola expressed his surprise at Fernandinho’s announcement when he appeared after his player in the media suite.
The City boss said: “Oh! I didn’t know. 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.”
“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— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 12, 2022
He continued: “At the end of the season we talk. Maybe it’s because of his family. I would love it (if he stayed). We will talk.”
Fernandinho most recently started a game for City in the home Champions League tie against Sporting Lisbon in early March, but Guardiola said his club captain had continued to play a key role.
Guardiola said Fernandinho, 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 handles 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), a few players. 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.”
City hold a slender 1-0 lead over Atletico thanks to De Bruyne’s goal in the first leg as they resume their bid for three trophies – in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
Guardiola revealed Portugal defender Ruben Dias had returned to training and will be travelling with the squad, but was unlikely to start having been sidelined since early March due to a thigh injury.
Gabriel Jesus, scorer of City’s second goal in Sunday’s 2-2 home draw with title rivals Liverpool, is suspended after receiving his third yellow card of the tournament in the first leg.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico produced a typically disciplined defensive display to restrict City to few chances at the Etihad.
Guardiola added: “It will be a different game, not like last week. They’re at home with their fans behind them. They will be more intense in the top half of the field than they were the other night.”