Fernandinho has risen from poverty to become a modern Manchester City icon, and he is now on the cusp of something very special.
The 37-year-old is set to leave the Etihad this summer after nine years with the Citizens, but he could end 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 has already been incredibly successful, winning 11 trophies including four Premier League titles.
He is set to add a fifth and that would put 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.
Phil Foden also praised the defensive midfielder for his contributions off the pitch: “He’s just a great person off the pitch.
“He knows everyone well. If the manager misses something, if a player is upset, he will see that in a player and he will come to see how he is doing. That’s why he’s captain: because he’s a great player and a great person.”
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.