Sine signing for Manchester City in 2013, Fernandinho has become a linchpin in a side which has claimed four premier League titles, one FA Cups and six League Cups since his arrival.
The defensive midfielder, now captain of the reigning champions, has been described by City boss Pep Guardiola as "exceptional" and "magnificent" in the past 12 months alone. However, following Guardiola's decision to omit Fernandinho from his starting XI in May's Champions League final defeat to Chelsea, the Brazilian was linked with a move away from the Etihad.
"Man, I was quite close to leaving – and that’s the truth," he explains in the latest issue of FourFourTwo, on sale now. "There was so much on the table to analyse, I was in deadlock. That made me leave the decision to when last season was finished.
"First, my priority was to have my mind 100 per cent on the team. Then I negotiated with only one team apart from Man City, which was Athletico Paranaense. They made a proper offer to me. My wife and I were like, 'If we go back to Brazil, we will have this; if we stay in England, we will have that.' When City offered me a new contract, we spent a few days at home weighing up both possibilities."
The 36-year-old reveals that, ultimately, it was family, more than football, which made his mind up. "One of the key factors that made us stay is that we are applying for British citizenship," he explains. "But it’s also a wonderful feeling to captain this club. I take so much pride in it.
After City have made another strong start to a Premier League season, fans will be keen to know if the enforcer will stick around into next season as well. Yet Fernandinho is staying tight-lipped on future decisions for the time being.
"No – it’s still too early to say that," he states. "I don’t like to deal with rumours, and the only fact I have at the moment is that my contract is until June 30, 2022. I don’t want to plan too many things in advance and then change it due to unforeseen circumstances. I’m no longer the priority – my kids come first."
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