When Fernando arrived in England in 2014, he joined a Manchester City squad already featuring his fellow Brazilian Fernandinho. The two holding midfielders didn’t know each other then, but now they are inseparable.
It's a friendship that their City team-mates have had plenty to say about. The duo with identical names – Fernandinho's real name is also Fernando, but goes by his nickname (the ‘inho’ suffix in Brazilian means ‘little’) – are rarely seen apart in the corridors of the Etihad or the nearby City Football Academy.
"Oh yes, many of them call us the brothers," Fernando laughs as he speaks to FourFourTwo. "You know, we are both Fernando, Brazilians, midfielders, and we are always together! At least they know we are not the same guy, right?"
On many occasions Manchester City's teamsheet isn't big enough for the both of them, with Fernandinho often getting the nod over his fellow midfield ace. Fernando might be after his pal's place in the team, but he insists that friendship comes first of all.
''Sometimes we are competitors, but we've got a different playing style," Fernando tells FFT. "The most important thing is our great relationship. Although we both want to play, we can also support each other when one of us isn't on the pitch. He's like a brother to me. Fernandinho's a great guy."
City haven't always had things all their own way this season, but they are still fighting on all fronts. In the Champions League they have been paired with Dynamo Kiev in the last 16, as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
It's in Europe where Fernando has the most experience, having spent five seasons in European competition with previous club Porto, winning the Europa League in 2011.
''I foresee an exciting second half of the season for Manchester City," says Fernando, known as the Octopus because he made so many interceptions at Porto that it seemed like he had more than just two legs.
''I believe Dynamo was a good draw for us. I mean, they are a very dangerous side, but we believe in our capacity to reach the quarter-finals and make history for the club."
But while Manchester City dream of European glory, they also need to cope with the pressure of being one of the favourites to win the Premier League.
''People say that City buy great players, but just look around and you'll see several fantastic squads," Fernando says. ''But of course, our goal is to win the title."
Fernando wears the new Lava/Fireball New Balance Football Visaro boots, designed for players who ‘Make Chances’. To find out more about New Balance Football go to newbalance.com/football or follow @NBFootball on Twitter and Instagram
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