Manchester City captain and Brazilian icon Fernandinho has announced that he is leaving the Premier League to return to his homeland at the end of this season.
A lack of first team football is cited to be the reason for his departure as the Brazilian confirms that he “wants to play.”
Something that, admittedly, he has done little of this season, given he has took part in just 13 Premier League matches so far this campaign, predominantly from the subs bench.
But now aged 37, that shouldn’t detract from legendary status that the ruthless enforcer has built-up in his time at the heart of Manchester City’s midfield. Make no mistake – Fernandinho was a player.
Not in the sense that most Brazilians are though, he wasn’t one for fancy flicks and tricks, but what he did was simple and effective. He was integral to the expansive way City play their football and in many ways underrated by most who watched him.
So, as he enters the closing stages of his career on the European stage, we thought it would be fitting to see how he fares in comparison to other Brazilian greats.
And before any Arsenal fans lose it about Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel not making the grade, longevity is also a factor. Just saying…
Check out our list of the Premier League’s 10 greatest Brazilian players ever.
The top 10 Brazilian Premier League players
10. Thiago Silva
The elite centre-back who at one time might have had a strong argument for best in the world, may have joined Chelsea at the ripe old age of 35, but his impact has been enormous nonetheless.
His leadership qualities were vital in propelling Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea squad to Champions League glory last season, whilst his incredible awareness and game intelligence puts the Brazilian in the top five centre-backs operating in the league currently. If Silva had arrived in England five years earlier, he would find himself pushing number one spot on this list.
A deep lying playmaker and a goalkeeper all rolled into one, Ederson’s laser-like ability for ball distribution is extraordinary. It gets him into trouble from time to time but that’s part and parcel of being a modern goalkeeper.
A three time Premier League champion and twice a winner of the Golden Glove, he really is top class. Ironically, he loses out in the pecking order for his national team to another Brazilian keeper that occupies a slot further down this list.
A two-time Premier League winner, Willian was simply scintillating when at his best for Chelsea. So much so that he was twice awarded the player of the season award at the Blues.
His move to Arsenal didn’t go to plan but that does little to tarnish the reputation Willian established in his time at Stamford Bridge.
7. Phillipe Coutinho
‘The Little Magician’ – who knows where this creative genius would rank had he not left Liverpool for Barcelona back in 2018. His talent and flair made him a favourite on the Kop, and in his time with the Reds he racked up an impressive tally of 41 goals and 37 assists in 152 games.
Since rejoining the league via Aston Villa, Coutinho has breathed new life into his career and could well become a leading Premier League player once again.
6. Gilberto Silva
A regular at the base of Arsenal’s midfield in the famed invincible season, Silva was much like Fernandinho in his approach to the game – an effective foil for the backline and without Silva there would have been no invincibles.
The enforcer spent six-seasons at Arsenal, making 170 Premier League appearances and notching 11 goals.
A cult hero on Teeside, Juninho enjoyed three spells at Middlesbrough and brought more playmaking panache than they’d ever seen before and, more than likely, will ever see again.
‘The Little Fella’ led the club to a League Cup triumph in 2004 and even won the Premier League Player of the Year accolade in the 1996/97 season – despite Middlesbrough getting relegated.
4. Fabinho Tavares
The signing of Fabinho was a masterstroke by Jurgen Klopp, the Brazilian was precisely what the Reds needed to add some much needed quality in the middle of the park.
Since his addition, Liverpool have gone from strength to strength whilst Fabinho has blossomed into arguably the best holding midfielder in the Premier League. Who knows how many titles he might help guide Liverpool towards in the coming years…
3. Alisson Becker
It’s another Jurgen Klopp signing that takes the first podium position. Some people might sniff at a keeper being so high up on this list but the impact Alisson has had at Liverpool comes second only to Virgil Van Djik.
Liverpool wouldn’t have enjoyed nearly as much success without the world class shot-stopper between the sticks. His impact was instantaneous since he signed for £66.8 million from Roma in 2018 and it’s no coincidence the Reds started winning trophies once they got him in the door.
Averaging a clean sheet pretty much every other game surely puts him up there with the all-time Premier League goalkeeping greats.
2. Roberto Firmino
It’s true, we have born witness to a downturn in the performances of Firmino in the last two seasons, that can’t be denied. Yet, it also should’t be forgotten how instrumental the silky false-nine has been in what is one of the most formidable attacks in Premier League history.
In his prime, he was like the South American Dennis Bergkamp. A creator, a technician but with an undying work ethic that makes him totally unique in the long list of Premier League forwards.
It’s the man of the moment himself in at number one. Similarly to Firmino, Fernandinho doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves for his impact in potentially the greatest Premier League team of all-time.
Four Premier League titles, six League Cups and an FA Cup shows this man is a serial winner – we think the perception of him as a player will age like a fine wine.