Pep Guardiola has revealed his shock after Fernandinho expressed his desired to leave Manchester City at the end of the season.
The 36-year-old Brazilian announced his decision to part ways from the Etihad club ahead of City’s second leg Champions League quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid, in which Guardiola’s men hold a 1-0 aggregate lead from last week’s home triumph.
The veteran midfield metronome put pen to paper on a one-year extension to his current deal last June, and now he intends to leave Manchester upon the expiration of his contract at the end of the campaign.
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When quizzed on whether he will still be donning Sky Blue colours next term, Fernandinho told reporters: “No, I want to play regularly.
“I will go back to Brazil. I decided with my family, which is the most important for me.”
The 53-capped Brazil international has made 373 appearances for City since joining the club from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, winning four Premier League titles in that time, six League Cups and one FA Cup — and Guardiola has now expressed his surprise to hear the news only now.
In his pre-match press conference to the Atleti game, Guardiola responded when asked about Fernandinho’s comments: “I didn’t know it.
“We will see what happens at the end of the season. We don’t know what’s going to happen.
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“Fernandinho, I’ve said many times, is so important for me. We will see what happens but, anyway, I will talk to him.
“Maybe it’s a family decision or maybe he wants more minutes than he has had this season, I don’t know.
“I will speak to him, of course, but this kind of situation…at the end of the season we are going to talk.”
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He continued: “I know what he has done, behind me, he handles many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team.
“An incredible player for Manchester City. There are things nobody knows but I know exactly what he has [done].
“I’ve said many times that I want the happiness of my players. We are going to play tomorrow for him and give him the best farewell moment, reaching again the semi-finals of the Champions League and, after, trying to go through again.”
Following Guardiola’s response, Fernandinho appeared to backtrack on social media, declaring his “100%” focus and commitment to City this season, while also hinting at the possibility of staying on beyond 2021/22.
Fernandinho wrote on Twitter: “I was 100 per cent honest and spontaneous in answering that question, but anyone who knows me also knows that my greatest honesty is with Man City and my duties as team captain.
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
“My focus is 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!”