Mário Fernandes (footballer)

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Mário Fernandes
ESP-RUS (10).jpg
Fernandes playing for Russia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Personal information
Full name Mário Figueira Fernandes
Date of birth (1990-09-19) 19 September 1990 (age 27)
Place of birth São Caetano do Sul, Brazil
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Playing position Right back
Club information
Current team
CSKA Moscow
Number 2
Youth career
2006–2009 São Caetano
2009 Grêmio
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2012 Grêmio 54 (1)
2012– CSKA Moscow 154 (1)
National team
2014 Brazil 1 (0)
2017– Russia 10 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 August 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:46, 7 July 2018 (GMT)

Mário Figueira Fernandes (Russian: Марио Фигейра Фернандес, IPA: [ˈmarʲɪo fʲɪˈgʲejrə fʲɪrˈnandəs]; born 19 September 1990) is a Brazilian-born Russian professional footballer who plays as a right back for Russian club CSKA Moscow and the Russia national team.[2]

Club career[edit]


Fernandes joined Grêmio in March 2009, signing until 2014. A few days later, he disappeared, and Brazilian police were called in to search for him. He was found some days later in São Paulo state, after having withdrawn cash in Londrina, Porto Alegre and Florianópolis. Fernandes made his debut for the club against Sport on 28 June 2009. Fernandes established himself as Grêmio's first-choice right back.[3]

CSKA Moscow[edit]

On 25 April 2012, the Grêmio president announced that a 15 million euro deal had been agreed with CSKA Moscow and Fernandes was set to join them pending a medical examination, with CSKA announcing the arrival on 4 May 2012.[4]

During the 2013–14 campaign he suffered a knee injury ruling him out for the first four months of the season.

In 2015, he was a key player in the Champions League 3rd qualifying round – CSKA Moscow won the second leg against Sparta Prague 3–2. Fernandes played 90 minutes, after 64 minutes (2:2) and after a run of the mill challenge Fernandes made a simulated dive, referee Paolo Mazzoleni showed Marek Matějovský the red card. Russian daily Kommersant wrote it was "An important theatre piece". Czech newspapers claimed the play was certainly not card worthy and Fernandes lacked fair play.[5]

On 29 June 2017, Fernandes signed a new contract with CSKA, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2022.[6]

International career[edit]


In 2011, Fernandes was called to the Brazil squad for the game Superclásico de las Américas, which he rejected, saying he was having "personal problems". Fernandes went on to make his debut for Brazil in a 4–0 friendly victory against Japan on 14 October 2014.[7]


After acquiring Russian citizenship, he was called up to the Russia national football team for the friendly games against Turkey on 31 August 2016 and Ghana on 6 September 2016.[8] However, at that point, he had only been a CSKA Moscow player since April 2012, which meant he had not lived in Russia continuously for at least five years yet. Thus, he was not eligible to play for Russia until April 2017.

On 23 March 2017, it was announced that he would make his debut for Russia on 24 March in a friendly against Ivory Coast.[9] He did not appear in that game. He made his debut for Russia on 7 October 2017 in a friendly game against South Korea.[10]

On 11 May 2018, he was included in Russia's extended 2018 FIFA World Cup squad.[11] On 3 June 2018, he was included in the finalized World Cup squad.[12] He played a key role in Russia's performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In the quarter finals against Croatia, he scored an equalising goal in extra time, which sent the match to a penalty shootout. However, Russia was eliminated after losing the shootout.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Mario was born in São Paulo. Right after signing his first professional contract with Grêmio, Fernandes found it hard to adjust to a new home and fell into depression, prompting him to disappear to his uncle. The police found him in a dishevelled state nearly 700 miles from Porte Alegre, hungry and exhausted. In a later interview he refused to disclose why he made no attempt to contact the club during this time, but pointed out the difficulties of settling at the beginning of a career, citing the example of Jesus Navas.[3] Mario underwent psychotherapy to deal with his depression, which helped his performances, but still drank heavily, regularly went out clubbing, and neglected his diet and fitness, saying “I would drink so much that I would sometimes show up drunk to training”. During this time he lived alone, and in an interview admitted to eating pizza and McDonald's "every day", which led to action on the part of the Gremio dietitian.[14]

Fernandes was called up to the Brazil squad for the Superclasico game in 2011, but missed the flight as he had been partying the night before, and was thus stripped of his spot in the national team for the next three years.

The unusually large sum CSKA Moscow paid for Mario in 2012, which was at the time the club's record transfer fee, was seen as a sign of trust in the defender. When he was asked whether he would have still come to Russia given Real Madrid made an offer after negotiations had been completed, Fernandes reiterated his happiness with the choice he made. The player decided to visit the city's Brazilian Evangelical Church[15], which proved life-changing, and praised the people who had helped him. He has since stopped his excessive habits, including any drinking whatsoever.

Fernandes had spoken with CSKA CEO Roman Babaev about the possibility of receiving Russian citizenship in 2015, before he had been called up to the Brazil squad. His talks about receiving Russian citizenship resumed in the autumn of the same year, at which point he had decided and had the full support of his family to do so.[16] On 13 July 2016, he received Russian citizenship via presidential decree from Vladimir Putin, which according to him made him more determined to start for Russia in the World Cup.[17] His younger brother, , is also a footballer.[18]

Mario currently speaks very little Russian, but has promised to learn the language and the national anthem.[16]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 13 May 2018[19]
Club Season League National Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Grêmio 2009 Série A 19 0 0 0 0 0 19 0
2010 2 0 7 0 16 1 25 1
2011 33 1 3 0 12 1 48 2
2012 0 0 0 0 5 0 5 0
Total 54 1 7 0 3 0 33 2 97 3
CSKA Moscow 2012–13 Russian Premier League 28 0 3 0 2 0 33 0
2013–14 12 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 15 1
2014–15 29 0 3 0 6 0 1 0 39 0
2015–16 27 1 5 0 9 0 41 1
2016–17 30 0 0 0 5 0 1 0 36 0
2017–18 25 0 0 0 12 0 37 0
Total 151 1 14 1 34 0 2 0 201 2
Career total 205 2 21 1 37 0 35 2 298 5


As of 7 July 2018[20]


Year Apps Goals
2014 1 0
Total 1 0


Year Apps Goals
2017 3 0
2018 7 1
Total 10 1

International goals[edit]

As of match played 7 July 2018. Russia score listed first, score column indicates score after each Fernandes goal.
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 7 July 2018 Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia 10  Croatia 2–2 2–2 (3–4 p) 2018 FIFA World Cup



CSKA Moscow



  1. ^ "2018 FIFA World Cup: List of players" (PDF). FIFA. 17 June 2018. p. 24. 
  2. ^ Фернандес стал армейцем (in Russian). PFC CSKA Moscow. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Who is Mario Fernandes? Russia's Brazilian World Cup star who overcame depression and snubbed Real Madrid | Goal.com". Retrieved 2018-07-09. 
  4. ^ "Фернандес стал армейцем". pfc-cska.com (in Russian). PFC CSKA Moscow. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2018. 
  5. ^ "Dal zase gól, ale nestačilo to. Zklamaní je obrovské, hlesl Krejčí". iDNES.cz. 5 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Марио Фернандес в ПФК ЦСКА до 2022 года!". pfc-cska.com (in Russian). PFC CSKA Moscow. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017. 
  7. ^ "JAPAN VS. BRAZIL 0 – 4". soccerway. 14 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Состав на Турцию и Гану" (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 16 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "Фернандес готов к дебюту за Россию. Главное — в обзоре дня". championat.com (in Russian). Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Уверенно победили Южную Корею (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 7 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "Расширенный состав для подготовки к Чемпионату мира" (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 11 May 2018. 
  12. ^ Заявка сборной России на Чемпионат мира FIFA 2018 (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 3 June 2018. 
  13. ^ Gonzalez, Roger (7 July 2018). "Croatia vs. Russia final score, recap: Rakitic's penalty kick sends Croatia to World Cup semifinals". CBS. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  14. ^ McDonnel, David (7 July 2018). "Mario Fernandes on swapping Brazil for Russia, getting 'kidnapped', drink problems, living on pizza and World Cup 2018". Mirror. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  15. ^ "Наша История | Центр Помощи". Centro de Ajuda (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-07-09. 
  16. ^ a b "Марио Фернандес: Всегда прошу маму, чтобы она приготовила мне борщ". Российская газета (in Russian). 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2018-07-09. 
  17. ^ "President of Russia decree on citizenship" (in Russian). President of Russia. 13 July 2016. 
  18. ^ Grêmio contrata atacante Jô, irmão de Mário Fernandes (Grêmio signs forward Jô, brother of Mário Fernandes); Globo Esporte, 8 June 2011 (in Portuguese)
  19. ^ "M.Fernandes". soccerway.com. Soccerway. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Mário Figueira Fernandes". National-Football-Teams.com. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  21. ^ "2018 Russian Super Cup game report" (in Russian). Russian Premier League. 27 July 2018. 

External links[edit]