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Inside FutbolInside Futbol


Liverpool Interest No Surprise as “Octopus” Fernando Ready for Next Step

Joel Amorim

Fernando Francisco Reges is better known in the footballing world as simply Fernando. Born in 1987 in Alto Paraiso, Brazil, the 26-year-old joined his current club FC Porto in 2007, arriving from a modest team in his homeland called Vila Nova. A solid defensive midfielder, he is currently at the centre of much transfer speculation with his contract expiring at the end of the season and Liverpool especially keen on securing his services. But just who is Fernando? And why is he so highly rated?

Fernando arrived at Porto at the age of just 20, but only one year after his arrival had shown his qualities to such an extent that he was a regular pick as part of a midfield trio at the Portuguese giants. From that moment on, Fernando’s career at Porto has been marked by brilliance. The Brazilian faces no real competition for his spot in the Portuguese champions’ current team, despite the quality of his rivals; talented Belgian midfielder Steven Defour and promising Mexican Hector Herrera have not been able to dethrone him.

Dubbed the “Octopus” by his team-mates, Fernando has impressive defensive skills. His extraordinary positioning allows him to be almost everywhere at times and it has been joked that he is omnipresent. The midfielder has also been compared to an animal, due to his outstanding ability to perform often flawless tackles on his opponents. A classic defensive midfielder, Fernando can also act as an anchor man, centre-back or even at a right-back, having been played there before by Porto.


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At the age of 26, Fernando already has bags of experience due to the number of games he has clocked up with Porto. A regular presence for the Portuguese side, the Brazilian-born schemer has consistently sampled the Champions League, while he was also part of the crop which, under Andre Villas-Boas, won the Europa League in the 2010/11 campaign.

On the international scene Fernando has represented Brazil at Under-20 level, but surprisingly has never been handed a senior cap. The midfielder was granted Portuguese citizenship last month and could well be called up to the Portugal national team in the near future, something which would send him following in the footsteps of former Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea star Deco. The player himself has never hid his dissatisfaction at having been denied a chance to turn out for the Selecao and the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari as Brazil coach was perhaps the final nail in the coffin of his chances of doing so in the immediate future, Porto’s board and the former Portugal boss having a bitter relationship.

If Fernando’s international future seems set to stay in Portugal, the same cannot be said for his club career. The midfielder’s contract at Porto is due to end in the summer and despite the Dragons making several offers to the player in an attempt to persuade him to extend, both parties are very far from an agreement. Fernando’s agent has already held talks with Liverpool and Napoli, and it appears likely he will bid farewell to the Estadio do Dragao at the end of the season.

However, the door may even be open for Fernando to leave this month. Porto’s poor campaign in the Champions League and consequent group stage elimination could force the Portuguese giants to try to at least realise some value from the midfielder by selling him. It is not likely that Porto will want to see Fernando head off on a free transfer at the end of the season. And with the player having resisted renewing his contract, such a move might be the perfect solution for both parties, the only fly in the ointment being that the Brazilian may feel it pays to stay in Portugal if he wants to push to make the country's squad for the summer's World Cup.

Fernando arrived in Europe as a stranger, but five years later has been transformed into one of the most talented defensive midfielders on the continent. A move to a more competitive league than that Portugal can offer is on the cards, and it is hard not to feel that Fernando has all he requires to be successful and take another step forward in his development.

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Published: Sunday, 5th Jan 2014