Brandon Fernandes’ seven-year-long journey with FC Goa came to an end as the club bid adieu to their captain on Thursday, whose contract is set to expire this summer.

A journey that had kicked off at just eight years of age at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, he experienced several heights and numerous achievements throughout his journey with the club. Significantly, Fernandes played his very first match in an U-12 football match organized by Salcette Football Club in Goa, where the foundation of his illustrious career originated.

One of India's most versatile midfielders, arguably the best with the ball, Fernandes is known for his exceptional ball control and fascinating distribution of the ball. The 29-year-old attacking midfielder’s innate ability to bring an artistic flair to the heart of the pitch and his efficiency to find pockets of space and thread incisive passes make him an instrumental asset for his team.

Since joining FC Goa back in 2017, Fernandes quickly became the hub of their creative play, showcasing sublime passing, technical ability and unrivaled vision which were standout features of his game. During his seven-year tenure in the Orange jersey, the midfielder recorded impressive numbers, major trophies, and unparalleled moments, which he will love to reminisce about for years to come.

As the Indian international embarks on a new journey in his career, let’s relive some glorious moments of this career.

“Bend it like Brandon”

 

It’s a famous phrase in Goa or even in Indian football. Fernandes’ aptness in finding the top corner with ease from the edge of the box is simply extraordinary. The midfielders’ agile movements in front of the penalty box, his quick stepovers, and his precise, powerful curling strikes often saw the opponent defenders in illusion.

“Carles Puyol, with the ball, was 1000 times worse than Brandon”

 

FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez asserted this statement in the post-semi-final press conference. The experienced Spanish head coach, who managed La Liga outfit UD Las Palmas during his coaching career, was fascinated by Fernandes’ exceptional ball control and sheer creativity.

Marquez used FC Barcelona legend Carles Puyol as a reference to underline the quality that the Goan possessed.

Highest chance creator in ISL since joining FC Goa

 

Since the 2017-18 season, the Madgaon-born midfielder holds the record for creating the most chances (including assists) in the Indian Super League (ISL). Fernandes has created 241 chances to date, surpassing Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh in this instance.

The second-highest appearances by any player for FC Goa

 

During his seven-season journey with FC Goa, Fernandes has featured in 130 matches for the club across competitions, which is the second highest for any player. The midfielder’s significance for the club has been an integral part of the Gaurs’ starting lineup, and his impact on the pitch has been noteworthy over the years.

64th-minute winner in the 2019 Super Cup final

Clinching the Super Cup in 2019 was the first silverware for FC Goa. The Gaurs edged past Chennaiyin FC by a 2-1 margin to clinch the title in Bhubaneswar.

Sergio Lobera’s team broke the deadlock with Coro’s 51st minute goal, which was later equalized by Raphael Augusto. However, FC Goa found themselves with the lead again courtesy of Fernandes’ quality finish.

The No. 10, who received an inch-perfect through ball from the Spanish forward, dribbled past Mailson Alves and beat Karanjit Singh to seal the victory for FC Goa. Furthermore, Fernandes was the second-highest Indian goalscorer that season, with three goals to his name.

Silverware with the Gaurs: ISL League Shield 2019-20

FC Goa became the first team to win the ISL League Shield in the 2019–20 season under the guidance of Sergio Lobera. The Gaurs won 12 out of 18 matches that season, securing 39 points overall to reign in the top spot and qualify for the 2021 AFC Champions League group stages.

Throughout the season, FC Goa displayed a dominating attacking brand of football. Fernandes was a key player for the Gaurs in that season, having eight goal contributions in his 17 appearances.

Goal in three consecutive matches: ISL 2023-24

Fernandes found the back of the net in three consecutive matches this season, registering this instance for the very first time in his career. Out of these three, he scored twice against Chennaiyin FC: once in the last group stage match and the other in knockouts. His third goal came against Mumbai City FC in the opening leg of semi-final 1, where he fired an absolute stunner from the edge of the box.