Fernandinho rose from poverty to become a modern Manchester City icon, and he has now achieved something very special.
The 37-year-old is set to leave the Etihad this summer after nine years with the Citizens, but ended his spell in England winning a fifth Premier League trophy.
The former Brazil international is an example for many to follow as he rose from street football to the top level.
The midfielder is not from a wealthy family, he spent his time working many jobs to support his family.
However, Fernandinho’s ultimate goal was to become a footballer, so all the money that didn’t go to his family he spared.
Most footballers progress through the academy ranks, but not Fernandinho.
Instead, the Manchester City club captain played street football in his spare time.
It was here that he honed his skills and patiently waited for a chance.
This opportunity came when he arrived for a trial with Athletico Paranaense. The Brazilian club only had to look at Fernandinho once before deciding to take the plunge and hand him a senior contract.
Fernandinho didn’t look back and spent 17 years in Europe with Shakhtar Donetsk and City.
His time with the Citizens was incredibly successful, winning 12 trophies including five Premier League titles.
Fifth places him level with Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney and John Terry for the number of league titles.
Given that Fernandinho is quite a modest figure compared to some of those other names, his achievements might fly under the radar.
Off the pitch, the Brazilian is a devoted father who likes to be left alone.
He has been with his wife Glauica Rose since they were both teenagers and even before he had remote success in football.
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However, within Pep Guardiola’s structure, he became the Spaniard’s lieutenant. He is someone the former Bayern Munich manager trusts to take care of the players.
After the departure of Vincent Kompany, a leadership vacuum had to be filled. The usually quiet Fernandinho stepped in to deal with it and was a key factor in the Citizens’ resurgence last year after a poor 2019/20 campaign.
Athletic claim Fernandinho was the source of brutal conversations that brought City to life after an average start to last season, and it ended in the Premier League trophy being lifted, so it’s not surprising that Guardiola trusts his club captain.
This year his playing time has diminished given Rodri’s rise to prominence, but he still fulfills his role as captain impeccably and could end his Etihad career on a huge high.
Earlier this season, after City’s win at Norwich, Guardiola said: “I’ve said many times what an incredible captain he is. On and off the pitch, he helps the team a lot.
“In the locker room, he is always there to give good advice.
“Of course Rodri is fit now but he can’t play every game.
“He played today with personality. I’m very happy with his performance.”
It shows how much one of the greatest managers of this generation appreciates Fernandinho, but it’s not just Guardiola who admires him.
After lifting the title, Jack Grealish to Sky Sports: “Fernandinho is the most professional player I have met in my life.
Meanwhile, Fernandinho told Manchester City’s website: “To end my nine years at City by winning my fifth Premier League title is a dream come true.”
“This team is really special. The unity of the players is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. These guys are my brothers, which makes the win even more special.
“I want to thank Pep and all the backroom staff we have here. As gamers, we have everything we need to succeed. The support we receive to make sure we go out on the field in the best possible condition is incredible and without it we could never have won the title.
“To have won this trophy four times in five years is truly incredible. Everyone knows the Premier League is the most competitive in world football, but we have been consistent over a long period of time. It’s a testament to what City have built .
“I’m leaving this summer, but I’m very confident that City will be successful again in the future.”
The Brazilian has also been credited with helping Gabriel Jesus and Foden settle into City’s first team.
So while he may not be playing as much as he used to, Fernandinho is still a vital cog in this Manchester City side, and they will miss him when he is gone.
He will leave as City’s record appearance holder in Europe, and if they add that fifth league title, he will become their most successful Premier League player.
While he may not be the most famous player the Citizens have ever had, it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t one of the most important.