Fernandinho 'really missing' football and Manchester City teammates during shutdown

Brazilian midfielder is back in his homeland and keeps in touch with colleagues and staff on the phone 'but it is not the same'

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City - Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine - September 18, 2019  Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their third goal with Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Ilkay Gundogan   REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
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Fernandinho has become the second Manchester City player to admit he is finding it difficult without football and without seeing his teammates.

Ilkay Gundogan said last week that he was finding motivation a trouble as he trained on his own and Fernandinho said he is missing both the game and his friends.

The 34-year-old has returned to his native Brazil with his family during the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But while he is enjoying life with his family, he said he is missing everything about the game and life at the Etihad Stadium.

“Very much,” he said. “Not just the football, but my relationships with my teammates, with the staff, everyone, the people at the club. I miss arriving at the club in the morning, having a chat with everyone in the kitchen. This is a tough time for everybody, but I am feeling it right now because I am really missing everyone.”

Fernandinho has won the Premier League three times and the League Cup a record five times during his seven-year stay in Manchester and has made 31 appearances this season, but he is also missing people around the club.

“The training sessions, the relationships with teammates and staff, the time before training you are talking with the physios, sometimes the kitchen after breakfast and even on the pitch before training starts. Everything," he said.

"We live in different ways so now we are just isolated far from everyone. You make some phone and video calls, but it is not the same. It is hard, to be honest.”

Fernandinho has been trying to keep fit in his homeland. City have devised training programmes and he can connect remotely with fitness staff.

“Sometimes I take the footballs out, sometimes take a rest, but most of the days we are doing some exercises," he said.

"We have been in touch with the club staff and they are sending us some plans, what kind of exercises we have to do, sometimes we have a video call conference with them and a training session as well. That is the way we are trying to keep fit, but it isn’t the same of course.”

Rather than training with Pep Guardiola every day, he has a new coach in his young daughter, Mariana, along with her older brother, Davi.

“She helped me in the first few days and now my son also helps me. It is the best way to work and to keep happy,” he said. “She is three years old and my son is ten years old.”

While some of City’s players, including Gundogan, remain in Manchester, others went to their home countries while they were still allowed to. Bernardo Silva is back in Portugal and City allowed Fernandinho to go to South America.

“Before the lockdown in the UK I asked for permission to travel to Brazil to spend this difficult time with my family," he said.

"The club allowed me to come and I am here in the north-east of Brazil. We took a house over here with some space for the kids as well and we are here spending this time here.

"It is really nice. Now we are spending more time with the kids, my wife, close friends and family and it is a different situation. So now we spend seven days a week at home and you discover a new life. I am enjoying that time.”

It has been unseasonably warm in Manchester but Fernandinho is not missing the weather, adding: “I do not need to be jealous as here in Brazil it is like 30 degrees.”