Usually the manager of a club is the first to find out if one of his players is on the way out the door, but on this occasion he had to be informed by members of the media.
There has been some speculation in recent weeks that Fernandinho was set to leave Manchester City at the end of the season, with the Brazilian's contract set to expire at the end of June. No public comment had been made on the matter until the club captain faced the media ahead of their Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid tomorrow night.
A rather surreal moment occurred at Pep Guardiola’s press conference today. He found out from a reporter that Fernandinho had just informed the assembled press that he would be leaving Manchester City at the end of the season.
The reporter asked Guardiola his views on the 36-year old's departure, assuming he would clearly have known of the midfielder’s intentions. However, the Spaniard was clueless and it set off an amusing conversation that went as follows.
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) April 12, 2022
Reporter: And can I just ask. Fernandinho is leaving at the end of the season, when did you find out about that, and how disappointing is it that he’s not staying on?
Reporter: Fernandinho has said that he is leaving at the end of the season
Guardiola: Oh, I didn’t know.
Reporter: Is that news to you?
Guardiola: You give me the news.
Reporter: Sorry about that.
Guardiola: I didn't hear it. We will see what happens at the end of the season. We don’t know what going to happen. Fernandinho, I’ve said it many times he is so important for me. I'll ask him.
Fernandinho has been a crucial component of Pep’s Premier League winning teams, and a player who Jamie Redknapp said is the best defensive midfielder in Premier League history. However, the ageing 36 year-old Fernandinho made it clear that he is looking for more game time.
"Yes, I want to play,” the Brazilian said. “I want to play regularly. I will go back to Brazil. I decided with my family, which is the most important for me."
The player soon took to social media to say he is still 100 per cent focused on the upcoming fixtures despite the unusual nature of this afternoon's announcement.
I was 100% honest and spontaneous in answering that question at today's press conference. But anyone who knows me also knows that my greatest honesty is with Man City and my duties as team captain.
— Fernandinho (@fernandinho) April 12, 2022
Guardiola will hope that the news is not too much of a distraction when they take on Atletico in the Champions League tomorrow night.
Manchester City will be firm favourites to go through to the semis as they hold a one-nil lead heading into the home game at the Etihad Stadium.