Mario Fernandez is close to returning to soccer - the Brazilian, who has become a legend not only for CSKA Moscow, but also for the Russian national team, may return to the field in early 2023. Let's remember together what we remember this outstanding player.
Talent beyond standards.
Mario may well have become a star not in big-time soccer, but in indoor soccer: his father is a coach of that kind of game. Moreover, since he was small, Fernandez had excellent technique. And yet Mario chose the big field and in 2009 he made his debut in the Brazilian "Gremio", where he spent the first seasons of his professional career. In addition to being technical, he had excellent speed qualities and, in principle, could prove themselves at any position in the field, but eventually ended up on the edge of defense. However, in modern soccer a lateral is a person who acts on the flank from one goal to another, so Fernandez was able to show his qualities in full glory.
CSKA instead of Real Madrid.
At the beginning of 2012 the CSKA Moscow side reached an agreement with Gremio to buy Mario: the transfer cost a combined 15 million euros. Interestingly, Fernandez had a parallel offer from Real Madrid, but the defender chose CSKA for some reason.
Fernandez immediately managed to impress fans and specialists. Quick, equipped with his passing ability, he also earned respect with his fighting qualities. Mario was never afraid of trouble, fought bravely for the ball both up and down the court. Because of this, in his first season in the Russian championship he had two head, ankle and meniscus injuries. But every time he returned to the field and proved his class
Our man from Brazil.
In 2014, Fernandes made his debut for the Brazilian national team in a friendly match, but after receiving an offer to become a Russian citizen, he considered this option. Surely Mario understood that the competition in the Brazilian national team is very high. At the same time, the Russian soccer authorities, who had not previously engaged in naturalization, had become more sympathetic to the subject. Besides, the home World Cup was on the doorstep, and there was no right-back stronger than Fernandes in Russia. As a result, after missing the 2017 Confederations Cup due to injury, he played for the Russian national team for the first time in the fall.
He will leave the Russian national team in the fall of 2021 with 33 matches and five goals with the tricolor on his chest. The hyper-emotional Artyom Dzyuba overshadowed everyone at the 2018 World Cup, but Fernandez's contribution in reaching the quarterfinals was huge. He was useful in every match, constantly connected to the attacks. Even the skeptics, who reminded Fernandez that he still does not speak Russian while playing for Russia, were forced to admit: there has not been a stronger edge defender in the national team for a long time.
Fatigue have won.
Fernandez signed a new contract with CSKA in February 2021, which runs through the summer of 2024. But apparently Mario's condition was far from ideal. He left the Russian national team in the fall, citing injuries, and in May 2022, he interrupted his playing career altogether and left CSKA.
"Lately, I feel tremendous accumulated fatigue and enormous exhaustion, and I can no longer give everything I've always given for the good of CSKA," he said. Those words did not look sly.
Fernandes is now in Brazil - he is expecting a son in September. But it seems that Mario will not be without soccer: there are already rumors that Gremio and Athletico Paranaense want him in their ranks. True, a return to Russia is out of the question. Or not yet?