SAO PAULO, June 28 — Former Manchester City captain Fernandinho has returned to his first club and signed for Athletico Paranaense, the Brazilian club said on Monday.
The 37-year-old midfielder, who left City at the end of last season following a trophy-laden nine-year stint in England, signed a two-and-a-half year contract.
“It is with great satisfaction that I return home... Knowing that I can apply a little bit of everything I achieved in these years playing in Europe,” said Fernandinho in a press conference to unveil his arrival in the southern city of Curitiba.
Born in Parana state, whose capital is Curitiba, Fernandinho began his career at Athletico as a teenager in 2002 before moving to Ukraine to join Shakhtar Donetsk in 2005.
After eight years in Donetsk that saw him win six Ukrainian league titles, four Ukrainian cups and the Uefa Cup, the precursor to the Europa League, in 2009, Fernandinho caught the eye of City scouts.
By then he was already a Brazil international and would go on to win more than 50 caps, helping the Selecao lift the 2019 Copa America and playing in two World Cups.
At City he won five Premier League titles, the FA Cup, six League Cups and played in the 2021 Champions League final.
He shocked his City manager Pep Guardiola in April when he announced during a pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season.
He had said he was desperate for his children to see him play for the club he supports.
Guardiola supported his decision and described Fernandinho as “an incredible player.” Athletico are currently third in the Brazilian league and through to the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores, where they will play Paraguay’s Libertad.
Fernandinho will be available from July 18 when Brazilian teams can register new players. — AFP