Thiago Fernandez, 40, after a stint at Sporting, is without a club but hasn’t let his passion die. He is proud of the path he took and of the players he helped shape. He admits that being Manuel Fernandez’s son has costs, but he wouldn’t change it even for Real Madrid’s bank.
– He encountered many young talents from Sporting in the youth ranks. One of them is Rafael Leao, who is considered the best player in the last Italian Serie A, who dedicated the champion of Milan. Nothing surprises you, right?
Nothing surprises me about Rafael Liao because he is the greatest talent I have ever trained in my life. At 13 and 14 years old, he was doing things no one else had ever done. We looked at him and we saw that he had a very big margin of progress. And it’s funny that I said goodbye in the first matches of Sporting because they wanted Rafael Leao, Robin Winger, Terry Correa and Abdo Conte to be sent off. I said, “If I let them go, I’ll leave too because it’s a sign that we all see this backwards.” They all ended up staying with me on my sophomore B team for the juniors playing in the Lisbon Region Championship. I was accused of that, of having older players because I wanted to be a champion, but if he was better than the others, it would be a crime to give him up. I’m happy today for him and maybe that’s why they have some gratitude because they know that if they had left Sporting their life path would have been different…
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