Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that he didn’t know Fernandinho is planning to leave the club at the end of the season until the player publicly revealed it.
Fernandinho confirmed his plan to step away from City this summer after nine successful years with the club and return home to Brazil with his family.
Soon to be 37, the City captain has played a more reduced role since the start of last season – Rodri has ultimately taken over his starting place – and will be out of contract in June.
Fernandinho made the revelation in a press conference ahead of City’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid this week. Moments later, Pep Guardiola arrived to address the media himself but was surprised to be informed of what his player had just said.
“I didn't know,” Guardiola claimed. “You [journalists] give me the news. I didn't hear it. We will see what happens. I don't know what will happen. He is so important. I'll ask him.”
The City boss went on to say that he plans to speak with Fernandinho about the decision, highlighting the important role the veteran has played behind the scenes – 90min understands that City had already offered him a player-coach role but will respect whatever he ends up doing.
“At the end of the season we talk, maybe it's because of his family,” Guardiola mused.
“The role he plays this season, I like the people who behave behind the scenes. I know what he has done, behind me, he handles many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team. I praise him and he was here when I arrived.
“Raheem [Sterling], Kevin [De Bruyne], John [Stones], a few players. We know him well, from day one, always here. An incredible player for Man City. There are things nobody knows but I know exactly.”