Manchester City has had their fair share of luck with stars from Latin America in the last decade, they have also had their fair share of misfortune.
The likes of David Pizarro, Robinho, Sergio Aguero, Elano, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta graced the blue shirt of Manchester with a varying degree of success, however, there is one man that will certainly be positioned in the top three.
Fernandinho has departed the Etihad after winning five Premier League medals, six Carabao Cups and a FA Cup after arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2013. A decision he has claimed to be one of the best to call the Etihad Stadium home.
The move has left many to go further and consider him the greatest Brazilian to ever grace the English leagues, but how accurate is that?
The 53-cap samba star has had to battle several Brazilians who have enjoyed the cold winters and fast, physical football more so than what is expected of them. Willian has made the second-most appearances in the league, Roberto Firmino the most goals and Phillipe Coutinho the best creator in the records. Then, there is Lucas Leiva, Juninho Paulista, our Ederson or the Invincible Gilberto Silva.
He ranks as having the most appearances for a Brazilian in the league after overtaking the former Chelsea and Arsenal winger against Leeds, where he made a substitute appearance and scored a goal – a goal that was recorded as the most powerful strike this season, at an impressive 117kph.
There is enough in his 260 appearances and nine years to explain why he’s been the greatest in the league.
As a player, he marshalled the midfield in the big games showing his intelligence to intercept passes and break up the danger, before setting City on another relentless attack to wear the defences down. This skill has been prevalent under Pep Guardiola, who mastered a similar position during his playing career, becoming an integral piece in the club’s identical style of playing on the front foot at all times.
His passing skills are underrated and would often split the lines to find Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero or the wide players, getting City into the opposition’s final third. The dominance of the game under Pep relies on an intelligent defensive midfielder that can hurt the opposition in defence and attack.
Rodri has taken over his position in the past two seasons but he remains an integral part of the squad, with a strong influence in the changing room.
A born leader and has shown how he has marshalled the midfield in tight games when City are expected to concede chances against teams in the top half. Also, a regular starter in the Champions League these past two seasons, favoured over Premier League, demonstrates he is still a good enough player to continue his career at the majority of European clubs.
His leadership skills have been evident to see and he was the overwhelming favourite to step up in Vincent Kompany’s absence. A decision eliminated out of Pep Guardiola’s responsibility as he allows the players to vote on the next individual to take the armband.
The favouritism doesn’t stop there as the midfielder has allowed stars from his home country to settle whether out on the training pitch or buying home comforts from a small Brazilian store on the outskirts of Salford. Ederson and Gabriel Jesus have certainly benefitted from the welcoming into Manchester with them two becoming firm favourites amongst City fans for stand-out performances in the last three to four years.
Versatility is another key point to press upon with the samba star filling in at centre back and right back, he has been there when the numbers are short or a tactical switch is required to change the game.
More than enough elements there to pip him over Roberto Firmino, Ederson (for now) and Philippe Coutinho in my opinion.
A question that has no right or wrong answer based on fans’ opinions but, one thing is for sure, Fernandinho will be the Cityzens choice when it comes to picking the greatest Brazilian to grace the Premier League. Do you agree?