Bruno Fernandes: Coping with adversity in football and in life

Written by By Staff Writer Bruno Fernandes has endured difficult times in his career. In his three-year spell with South America’s wealthiest team, Santos, the Brazilian defender became the third highest paid player in…

Bruno Fernandes: Coping with adversity in football and in life

Written by By Staff Writer

Bruno Fernandes has endured difficult times in his career.

In his three-year spell with South America’s wealthiest team, Santos, the Brazilian defender became the third highest paid player in the country. However, the money failed to convince Fernandes that he was working hard enough.

After finishing his playing career with Serie A side Livorno, Fernandes joined Manchester United in 2008 with the aim of landing the World Cup. With two games remaining in the group stage, however, Fernandes failed to receive a single call from then Brazil coach Dunga, before being left out of the team’s final squad.

On a more positive note, the 31-year-old defender went on to enjoy success with the Red Devils, and was a key figure in United’s 2010-11 double of Premier League title and FA Cup.

During a recent edition of CNN Business Traveller, Fernandes reflected on the events that led him from a star to a coach.

My turn to shine

Fernandes has received a glowing assessment of his coaching skills from Sir Alex Ferguson — his mentor and former boss.

During an interview with Brazilian broadcaster Globo, Ferguson said: “I would love to have someone as good as you as a coach…I think all the best coaches I’ve worked with are people like you,” he added.

Ferguson had faith in Fernandes as he sought a solution for a side that was losing momentum after the fall-out from the infamous “choc-ice” video, which was later revealed to show the British team racially abusing Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

Relegated, United were forced to release players, including four Brazilians, and some of their key English players were worried about their futures at the club.

Fernandes first struck a chord with Ferguson in the wake of this pressure by providing a reason to buy new players, by ushering in the transfer of Barcelona’s full-back, Rafael Da Silva, and Chile forward, Alexis Sanchez.

Lessons learnt

As a player, Fernandes had to deal with the fallout from the infamous “choc-ice” video, in which Brazil’s national team were implicated in racially abusing Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

Since his days as a professional, he has started his coaching career by applying what he learned in the world of professional football.

In his first seven months as player-coach, Fernandes introduced a new formation and instituted a restructure in the Manchester United technical team.

He drew on his own story of on-field success, lasting the length of the FA Cup semi-final victory over Newcastle United and the final victory over Chelsea at Wembley, when he led United to a double.

Fernandes has got the recipe: as a player, he helped the Red Devils to the double and an even greater Premier League title win, two years after he left the club.

In his mind, winning something as prestigious as the World Cup was equally hard to do, and he still aspires to be a coach for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

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