Before the end of the season, Manchester City announced that much loved skipper, Fernandinho, would not be extending his contract to stay at the club beyond the 2021-22 season.
Whilst somewhat expected, the news about the 37-year-old broke the sentimental hearts of many blues who had hoped that the veteran would choose to stay at the club in some capacity or another. But the bald Brazilian was far from ready to hang up his boots.
Fernandinho joined the Premier League nine years ago, in the summer of 2013 for £36m from Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk. He was so keen and determined on his move to Manchester City that he paid £4m of his own transfer fee.
Since making his debut under Manuel Pellegrini against Newcastle, Fernandinho has been at the very heart of City and the recent success.
Since then, he has made 383 appearances, 26 goal, 29 assists, a million prefect tackles, master of the tactical foul and 13 trophies, including 5 Premier League titles. Career stats in England that most players from abroad would weep about.
City fans fell in love with him for much more than his footballing abilities. A love story that transcends anything that Shakespeare could conjure. His personality and leadership were endearing to those around him at the club, including the fans.
He played for the blues with heart, soul, desire, and passion. His love and loyalty towards the club have never been questioned, and upon the release of Manchester City’s ‘Fernandinho: The Last Game’, we witnessed the love of the club from his family too.
When Captain Kompany departed the club, he left incredibly big football boots to fill, and Ferna stepped into them seemingly effortlessly.
Captaining his side to multiple trophies including back-to-back Premier League titles and leading Manchester City to their first Champions League final. Fernandinho has set an excellent example for his successor.
Manchester City are moving into a new era. Witnessing some of the leaders from our most successful period as a club leaving for the next chapter of their careers. Including a busy transfer window this summer.
The club has honoured the mighty Brazilian with a mosaic and a pitch dedicated to him at the City Football academy. The most recent in a series of tributes to City legends including Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, and Sergio Aguero.
Manchester City have been lucky to have inspired such loyalty from some of their best players over the years, which has created a sense of continuity and stability, a contributing factor to long-term success.
It has been confirmed that Fernandinho will return to his first club Athletico Paranaense. Heading home to Brazil as a free agent after 17 years away from his hometown.
No doubt, he will return as a hero, a legend. Just as he is for Manchester City and every blue across the world.
Closing with his open letter to Manchester City and fans; he, and his family, will always have a home and blue family in Manchester.