Manuel Fernandes (footballer born 1986)

Manuel Henrique Tavares Fernandes (pronounced ) (born February 5, 1986), commonly known as Manuel Fernandes, is a Portuguese footballer of Cape Verdian descent, playing for Spanish club Valencia. He is the cousin of Manchester City midfielder Gelson Fernandes.

Club career


Fernandes grew up in the Lisbon suburb of Amadora, where he would regularly play street football with current Manchester United winger Nani as a child. Fernandes joined Benfica's youth system and made his first-team debut during the 2003–04 season, under then-coach José Antonio Camacho. A defensive midfielder, he made an immediate impression on both Camacho and the Benfica supporters and became the club's second youngest ever goalscorer in only his second game.

He became a regular first team player in the centre of midfield alongside Petit in the 2004–05 season. Under the guidance of Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni, he helped Benfica to win the Superliga. An influential season saw Manuel Fernandes miss just five games as Benfica lifted the championship trophy for the first time in 11 years. He also made seven appearances in the UEFA Cup before the Lisbon outfit were eliminated in the Round of 32 by eventual winners PFC CSKA Moscow.

During the 2005/06 pre-season, Fernandes underwent surgery in Munich due to an inguinal hernia. He was treated by specialist Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck.

In the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, Fernandes scored the equalising goal in a draw at Villarreal CF in the group stage before Benfica were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual winners FC Barcelona.

In June 2007, Manuel Fernandes played in all games, and scored the opening goal for Portugal U21 in their 4–0 win over Israel in the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. The team however failed to make the finals.Portsmouth

Fernandes signed on loan to Portsmouth with a deal agreed for a permanent transfer of approximately £7 million if he fully recovered from his groin injury. A transfer was first proposed in late July 2006 but could not be concluded as Fernandes was still suffering from the injury and failed a club medical twice. In an unusual move, Benfica allowed the player to be treated at Portsmouth in the hope that he would regain fitness before the 1 September transfer deadline. After five weeks at the club, it was projected that he still needed two months recovery and so the initial loan deal with a future fee was agreed.

Fernandes made his Portsmouth debut in the League Cup away to Mansfield Town. He scored from outside the area after just five minutes and Portsmouth won 2-1. He went on to make sporadic appearances for the club throughout the first half of the season, with Sean Davis and fellow Portuguese international Pedro Mendes the preferred midfield pairing. It was later revealed by Pompey manager Harry Redknapp that if Fernandes were to make three consecutive appearances, it would trigger a clause in which Portsmouth were obligated to sign the player for £12m. Because of the high transfer fee, Portsmouth revealed in December that unless Benfica were to compromise on the fee they would not make the transfer permanent. Fernandes returned to Benfica in the winter transfer window.Everton In January 2007, Fernandes joined Everton F.C. on loan until the end of the season. He also signed a long-term contract with Benfica in January 2007. The deal was complicated by Fernandes being part-owned by a third party agency, but he eventually made an assured debut for his new club in the 1–0 win over Blackburn Rovers on February 10 2007 and quickly became something of a fans favourite at Goodison. He scored his first league goal for the club on 24 February against Watford. On 28 April 2007, Fernandes scored his second Everton goal against league leaders Manchester United. The goal, although spectacular, was not enough as Manchester United would go on to score four times in the final half hour of the game, winning 4–2.

With Everton manager David Moyes reluctant to pay Benfica's reported £12 million asking price, Fernandes returned to Benfica in 2007, where he had several good performances during the pre-season. On August 8 2007, it was reported that Everton had made an offer of £6 million for Fernandes.

On August 13 2007, it was confirmed by both Everton and Benfica that Fernandes was the subject of an acceptable bid from Everton. The bid was believed to be £6 million for Benfica's 50% share in the player, Everton having to negotiate with Global Sports Investment for the other half of Fernandes' playing rights. Later reports indicated Everton were willing to pay £12 million for 100% of the rights. On 14 August, it was reported that he had flown to the Merseyside to complete the deal after being left out of the squad in Benfica's game, and he attended Everton's match against Blackburn Rovers on 25 August.

Global Sports Investment owned 50% of Manuel Fernandes transfer rights and hence, this is one of the reasons as to why his potential transfer to Everton, had become so complicated. Another reason is because the Premier League did not agree to the transfer as Everton would only half own Fernandes' contract. Everton were not too happy about this as the Premier League had let Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano move to other Premier League clubs under the same agreements.

However, in a late twist on 26 August, Fernandes opted to sign a six-year contract for Valencia in a deal worth up to €18 million (£12.2million) to Benfica.

Valencia CF

Fernandes signed a six year deal with a €60 million get out clause for Valencia CF in August 2007. He made his debut as a substitute during a 2–1 away win against UD Almería on 2 September 2007. He played 7 La Liga games, 5 were starting eleven.

In January 2008 he was loaned out to Everton, until the end of the season. Everton then have the option to sign the midfielder permanently.

Back at Valencia for the 2008/09 season, new Valencia coach Unai Emery has declared Fernandes as part of his plans for the new season. He played as a substitute in the first game of the season against Real Mallorca, a match that Valencia C.F. won 3-0 with goals from David Villa, Vicente Rodriguez and Juan Manuel Mata.

International career

Manuel Fernandes played for Portuguese U21 side at 2006 and 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. He also an active member of 2009 edition qualifying.

He received his first call-up to senior team in February 2005. He scored his first senior international goal on March 26, 2005 against Canada in a friendly match. He played his first non-friendly appearance against Armenia on 17 November, 2007, a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying.



External links

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