Manchester City Brazil, the biggest and best Portuguese resource for Blues, conducted an interview with City’s latest Brazilian signing, Fernandinho, before Sunday’s 4-1 thumping of Manchester United. Here, translated into English, is that interview. Enjoy!
Fernando Luiz Rosa, aka Fernandinho, arrived in Manchester in June this year to add more quality to the club. After spending time at Shakhtar Donetsk, winning fourteen titles for the Ukranian side, the Brazilian now wants to write his name in City’s history and that of English football. In an exclusive interview, Fernandinho speaks about signing for Manchester City, settling in to a new routine and style of play, his relationships with other players and his new life with his family in England.
Man City Brazil: After so many years playing for Shakhtar Donetsk, what made you decide to move and come to Manchester City?
Fernandinho: I think, after eight years, it was the right time to change team and country so I decided to leave. I wanted something new, a new league and new challenges. And it was City who opened the doors for me.
MCB: During negotiations, you showed through social media that you wanted to join City (you gained many fans thanks to this attitude). Is it true that you gave up a €4million bonus from Shakhtar to force your transfer through?
F: It was a very difficult period for me and my family. I expressed my wish to leave via social media because they (Shakhtar) believed it was a joke and a bit of fun on my behalf. In my contract with Shakhtar, I had the right to receive the money, yes, but I passed it up because I didn’t want to make the negotiations more difficult.
MCB: In the past two seasons in the Champions League, City haven’t progressed from the group stage. Sergio Aguero has stated the club lacked some experienced players and we all know that your experience in the competition was one of the factors in signing you. What are the expectations for this year? Is there much pressure to get results?
F: The team didn’t do well last year in the Champions League, but this year we have begun well and it’s our aim to get to the final and win. Personally, I did well in the competition last year and perhaps that attracted the attention of people here at the club. The more players with experience in the Champions League, the better.
MCB: Moving on now to the Premier League, do you believe that the club has the chance to reclaim the title? And what do you feel about the rivalry between City and United?
F: I sincerely believe that this group has everything necessary to reclaim the trophy. We have good players, a good manager and everyone wants to win. The team have clear goals in mind. In terms of the rivalry, all will become clearer on Sunday, on derby day. We want to win at all costs.
MCB: How have you settled into the Premier League? Is there a big difference from the Ukranian League?
F: I’m settling in well, each day I learn a new thing. The difference between the leagues is so big, you can’t compare.
MCB: Ukraine is a cold country, but Manchester is known for raining and being grey throughout the year. Are you prepared for this? And how have you settled into the city?
F: Ukraine has a very harsh winter so I’m already used to this type of weather. In comparison to Donetsk, it rains more in Manchester but it isn’t so cold! The city is cool, I like it a lot here. There are various cool restaurants and good places to relax so I don’t think I’ll have any problems in adapting.
MCB: I read an interview with Kleberson recently in which he said that when he moved to Manchester, he couldn’t find ‘feijao’ (a type of bean that is part of the Brazilian national dish). Have you become a fan of fish and chips since moving to Manchester or haven’t you been anywhere except Bem Brasil?!
F: Things have changed since Kleberson played in Manchester. I’ve already tried fish and chips and I’ve been to Bem Brasil, but to tell you the truth I really like Italian food, so I’m trying to branch out! Sometimes we go out to a restaurant and other times we stay at home to eat. But nothing matches Brazilian food, does it?!
MCB: Brazilian players, such as Elano, haven’t done so well at City and the fans don’t have great memories of them. Do you plan on changing that?
F: Many people have said that to me since I arrived here. It’s yet another objective I have: to change the image of Brazilians who play here, and I think that will only happen by winning titles and writing my name in the history of the club.
MCB: In one of Micah Richards’s pre-season video diaries, we see him shouting at you, “Ah Muleke!” Did you teach him Portuguese?! How have you been welcomed into the group?
F: Hahahahaha, this “ah muleke” which is very well known in Brazil has nothing to do with what Micah shouted at me! He simply shouted “Omelette” in reference to another Brazilian who played here and always used to say the same thing to him. Micah is a great guy and all the players have welcomed me very well.
MCB: Are you learning English?
F: Not yet, we’re still arranging things around the house at the moment. My three-year-old son has just started going to school which is difficult for him but once we’re over a few obstacles, everything will become easier. My wife and I, as soon as we finish everything in the house, will begin English classes. Understand?!
MCB: What do you think about the structure at City? The club has some projects lined up such as the Etihad Campus with a new training ground that will be built next year. What are your expectations?
F: The structure is the best and with the building of the new training ground, it will remain excellent. The expectation is always to win and with these facilities in which to work, you can be assured that responsibility will increase.
MCB: Manchester City is considered as the best club in the world when it comes to social media and you personally are always connecting with the fans. How do you see the interaction between fans and the players and club?
F: I think it’s very cool. I was also a fan years ago when the radio, a paper or TV was the only way to get information. Fans are interested to know about their idols and it’s very important that the club understands that desire. I like to be in contact with the fans and Twitter enables me to do that the most.
MCB: English commentators say that Brazil have many players like yourself and Willian who don’t get called up to the national team. Do you believe there’s still enough time to earn a place in the squad for the 2014 World Cup?
F: Brazil have many options so it’s hard to find a place in the squad but I keep faith and hope to be part of the national team. It would be a dream come true for me and my family. After all, I dedicated myself to win football matches for them.