Goal Russia tells the fascinating story of Mario Fernandes, a Brazilian right-back who has been instrumental in the host country’s success this summer
When you are a young player who has just signed his first contract with the club, it’s easy to give in to temptations: nightclubs, girls, drugs, and waivers for everyone around you. For Brazilian players, this can even happen later in their careers. Cicinho, Adriano, and other Brazilian stars are proof of this. Even the magical Ronaldinho was sucked by the parties, and his MP quickly run out.
But when we see CSKA and Russian winger Mario Fernandes, one of the best in his position at the World Cup, it looks like he must be a reliable and focused soccer player from day one at the academy.
This is not the case.
In March 2009 Fernandes signed his first senior contract with Gremio. A great start for great players. But the next day she disappeared. Neither club management, nor his friends, nor his family could find him. Police were involved, and Fernandes was found three days later and hundreds of miles from Porto Alegre, where Gremio was playing.
After signing his contract, Fernandes fell into depression and went to Jundiai to visit his uncle, stopping every few hundred miles. When she was found she was tired and hungry.
“I really miss my hometown, so I went away for a few days,” he said in a recent interview.
“Why do not I tell the club? To be honest, I do not want to talk about this. But I will say one thing: this is not funny. I sympathize with Jesus Navas, who found it difficult to leave his home early in his career. “
After undergoing psychotherapy to deal with his depression, Fernandes played great football in the Brazilian league, but time was still difficult. Mario does not pay attention to his diet, he drinks, he goes clubbing and ignores his fitness regime everyday.
“I will drink so much that I will sometimes get drunk for training,” he said.
“I’m 19, I live alone in Porto Alegre. I eat pizza and McDonald’s every day. The dietitian Gremio came to me and said I would only eat somewhere since then, “he added.
This lifestyle, of course, brought Fernandes to the point of doom. At 21 he was called into the Brazil squad, but after partying the previous night, missed his flight. Fernandes was stripped of his place in the national team over the next three years.
The naughty nature of Fernandes did not preclude the CSKA president, Yevgeni Giner. Men’s Army was praised for their ability to get the most out of their under-transfer budget (Yury Zhirkov signed for almost nothing from Spartak Tambov, Pontus Wernbloom was brought in only to draw Swedish compatriot Rasmus Elm, Ahmed Musa was sold to Leicester and brought back on loan, etc). But the club paid $ 15 million (£ 9.4 million) for Mario Fernandes in 2012 – a very high fee for that time.
The fee paid is the attitude of trust in the defense. And Fernandes justifies that belief. When the deal is over, the player is approached by Real Madrid.
“A few days after we signed an agreement with Gremio and Mario, Real approached clubs and players,” said CSka’s Chief Scout Anton Yevmenov.
“Gremio actually offers more than we do, and they offer Mario much more. His agent shows the numbers when Mario has been training at CSKA and is preparing for this season. He said that even if Real had made their offer early, he would still come to CSKA.
“Because he understands that, in fact, he will be a fringe player, while we have assured him that he will be a direct starter for us.He will have a chance to make further progress, and Real must come back for him. to get there with a Champions League experience under his belt. “
Fernandes did get a fast starting place at CSKA, and he played good football. Most surprising of all, Fernandes, who is so far away from his beloved home, significantly changes his lifestyle.
Lokomotiv Moscow winger Maicon takes Fernandes to the Brazilian Evangelical Church in the city, proving a life-changing experience.
“I’m an Evangelist,” Fernandes said later. “We base our faith only on the canon of the Bible. I respect all kinds of Christianity, we all believe in the same God. But, again, do not think I’m the perfect person. I do not. I have changed. “
In 2015 Fernandes is once again called into the Brazil squad. However, he has developed a comfortable life in Russia and has spoken with CSKA CEO Roman Babayev about his chances of getting Russian citizenship.
The choice of right rear national team is also influenced by circumstances. He only played once for Brazil, in a friendly match. Russia has become his home, his favorite club and his church is there, and this has an impact on his decision.
Fernandes received a Russian passport, and soon he was called to represent his new country.
Some people in Brazil regarded it as traitors, but Fernandes did not care. He is happy and steadfast in his beliefs.
This calm helps the defender to make important decisions that affect his game. During the last 16 games with Spain, Fernandes completed the second tackle of each player, making Nacho and Marco Asensio remain in his pocket, and became one of the few Russian players who tried to advance and attack the Hierro team.
In the group stage with Egypt, Fernandes provided relief for the second goal, a fine pass into the box that allowed Denis Cheryshev to score the hosts in her spare time.
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There is no way CSKA will achieve what they have for the last five years if not for Fernandes. And Russia certainly will not make it to reach the World Cup quarterfinals.
As for Real Madrid, they will definitely come calling sooner or later.
“I live a quiet life. Every day I go to training, then go home, “said Fernandes recently. And this is great. Try to watch Mario play, and you will be as calm as him.