Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Aladdin Sodiq Blog Profiles: Gelson Fernandes
Gelson Fernandes (born 2 September 1986 in Praia, Cape Verde) is a Swiss footballer, who currently plays as a midfielder for Saint-Étienne and the Swiss national team.
Fernandes signed for Manchester City from Sion on 14 July 2007 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around €6 million (£4.2 million), which would make his sale the second highest transfer in the history of the Swiss League. Following his signing, Sven-Göran Eriksson commented that he thought Fernandes was the "best young player in Switzerland." He made his debut in the 0–0 draw against Portsmouth.
He scored his first goal in a 2–0 victory against Newcastle United on 2 January 2008, after coming on as a substitute for Stephen Ireland. It took just 40 seconds for Fernandes and Kelvin Etuhu to combine for the former to finish from the edge of the box. Gelson scored his second goal in the 1–3 loss to Arsenal at the City of Manchester Stadium. Vedran Ćorluka took advantage of a Gaël Clichy defensive error, who slipped in a pass into the six-yard box for Gelson to tuck home. The goal was not enough to secure any points for Manchester City, but showed the City fans that he was also capable of having an eye for goal like fellow youth midfielder, Michael Johnson.
At the start of the 2008–09 season, Fernandes had his number changed from number 28 to number 19. The number 28 shirt was taken by Daniel Sturridge. He has since scored twice in the 2008–09 season with goals against Brighton & Hove Albion and the final goal in the 6–0 win against Portsmouth. Gelson made 59 appearances for City, scoring four times, but he was increasingly used as a substitute after Mark Hughes took over as manager.
On 9 July 2009, Fernandes moved on trial to Saint-Étienne. He passed a medical on 9 July 2009 to complete a £2 million move to Saint-Étienne. He signed a two-year contract and moved on a undisclosed fee.
Fernandes was captain of the Switzerland U-21 that played against the England U-21 side in their Euro 2007 qualifying match.
He made his first full international appearance for Switzerland against the Netherlands on 22 August 2007. He has since continued to be a regular for Switzerland, playing in their friendly defeat to England at Wembley in February 2008. He also played in all three of the Swiss side's Euro 2008 fixtures. On 28 March 2009, Fernandes scored his first goal for Switzerland, heading in a corner to seal a 2–0 win against Moldova. He scored his first World Cup goal for Switzerland against Spain on 16 June 2010, which Switzerland went on to win 1–0.
Gelson Fernandes arrived in Switzerland with his mother at the age of five from the Cape Verde islands, the family settling in Sion.
According to former Manchester City teammate Micah Richards, he is fluent in five languages. The five languages are: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Although these are the most widely known languages that Fernandes speaks, it is also known that he can speak Portuguese due to it being the official language of his birthplace, Cape Verde. He is the cousin of Portuguese footballer Manuel Fernandes.
* Swiss Cup: 1