Fernandinho exclusive: Casemiro and Marcelo have their Champions League medals, now it's time for mine

Alam Khan - Reporter 01:00 26/02/2020
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  • Fernandinho

    Since he joined Manchester City in 2013, Fernandinho has watched as his Brazilian pals at Real Madrid have lifted the Champions League time after time.

    Both Marcelo and Casemiro have won four in the past seven years as the Spanish side have become kings of the competition with 13 overall to their name.

    Fernandinho is hoping it is now his time as City look to reign supreme in their last-16 clash against Real.

    “I hope so this is my chance,” he told Sport360 exclusively.

    “They have won enough Champions Leagues so I hope it will be my time.

    “We are going to try to do our job and give our best – and try to win the games to go through.

    “This is going to be special. They are the favourites, the king of this competition because they have won it so many times.

    “It’s going to be a great experience to show what level we are at. They are a special team because of how they play, the goals they score, especially in the clinical and decisive moments.

    “They are such a big team, with the history, with the big players, that’s what makes them special.”

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    Fernandinho was part of the City side that came so close to glory in 2016, pipped by Real 1-0 over two legs with his compatriot Fernando’s own goal at the Bernabeu proving the difference in a close contest.

    “It’s forgotten what happened the last time we played in the semi final against Real,” he added.

    “Everything what happened in football, what happened today is in the past, you have to think about today and tomorrow, to prepare and get better. You can’t think about what happened before, in the past.

    “I hope these games bring the best out of us, if we can be in good shape and perform very well. We have a game plan and if you can use it in the best way then we have a chance.”

    Fernandinho, 34, is also keen to ensure it is not a forgettable season for City either.

    With their Premier League title destined for Liverpool, who hold a 22-point lead with 11 games left, a historic first Champions League would ensure they finish with a prize they crave.

    The club are also fighting a two-year ban from the competition, imposed by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, taking their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    Pep Guardiola’s side are in a determined mood after a campaign where they have failed to match the heights of the previous one, where they lifted a second successive league title, the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

    The defence has particularly come under scrutiny for mistakes and inconsistent displays, but has been steadied by the recent return of Aymeric Laporte after injury and kept successive clean sheets.

    Fernandinho added: “The people who don’t play football or follow football, they are there to criticise, to say something good or bad about you. It’s part of the game.

    “The most important thing is when they say something bad about you, that you just don’t need to worry about that. And when they say something good about you, that you don’t fly high into the sky.

    “You just have to keep your feet on the ground, keep humble, keep working, because life is like this.”

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    Fernandinho, who reverted to centre-back from midfield this season, knows City will have to be at their best as a team to overcome Zinedine Zidane’s side in Wednesday’s first leg at the Bernabeu.

    Key to their chances, though, could well be Kevin De Bruyne.

    The Belgian’s towering midfield displays, driving his team forward with unbelievable technique and vision, are reminiscent of those produced by Real’s manager Zidane as a player.

    “Zidane was a class player,” said Fernandinho about one of his footballing heroes.

    “I think Kevin can do something special too. I don’t like to compare players. Zidane was one of the best of all times and Kevin is going to be a really good player in the future, especially winning trophies and playing at a high level as much as he can.

    “He’s been so good. Recovering his best form after injury [last season], you can see his confidence on the pitch and his quality.

    “Of course he starts to score more goals now, this is the difference. He has the taste for more goals and that’s what will help him grow more and help us as a team.

    “Kevin’s such an important player for us, a key person and I hope he can continue in this form until the end of the season.”