Luiz Felipe Scolari needs to watch Monday's game at the Etihad, says City's midfielder, who will be vying with Chelsea's Ramires, Oscar and Willian for a place in the Brazil squad
Fernandinho has a message for Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazil head coach, as Chelsea visit Manchester City for Monday evening's pivotal title showdown. "He needs to watch this game! Yes, I hope Scolari will be watching. The newspapers in Brazil say that he watched the last [City] game against Spurs on the television so I hope he was impressed. Getting to the World Cup is a big dream for me.
"There has been nothing from him or the Brazil FA yet but I hope it is coming. In February, they do the list for the next international game – against South Africa on 5 March. I keep hoping I will get the phone call but I need to keep working here and believe it can happen."
Fernandinho is the £30m summer buy who has become an instant hit in central midfield alongside Yaya Touré in City's stellar campaign, yet has not featured for Brazil since last year, when he won the last of five caps in a 2-1 friendly victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Seven seasons playing for Shakhtar Donetsk in one of the outposts of the European game is often cited as a factor. But with Chelsea sure to field Ramires, his direct rival for an international place, alongside fellow Brazilian Oscar and possibly others in Willian and David Luiz, the contest with José Mourinho's side, who arrive three points behind City, can be billed as a trial for the 28-year-old's World Cup hopes.
"Yes. I am sure about that," he says. "It's a big game. You could say it's like a derby because everyone is talking about it. I am sure the Brazilian manager will be watching because there are a lot of players he needs to see. If I have a good performance, there is no doubt it will open the door for me. That's what I am hoping.
"A lot of my rivals are playing in [the Premier League] – there is also Lucas [Leiva of Liverpool], Paulinho [at Tottenham]. A lot of them are at Chelsea – those are the main guys in the frame for Scolari."
Lucas's knee ligament injury means opportunity knocks for Fernandinho, with it being understood that Scolari is considering calling him up for the South Africa match.
Fernandinho says: "The Premier League is considered the best league in the world. If you are a manager and you have so many players in one game, you must be watching. He needs to know how we are all playing at club level – not just what players do when they go to the national team. I hope he will come to England before the end of the season."
What would beating Chelsea do for City's title hopes? "They are the main rivals, they have good players, a good manager. They are the other favourites for the title," he said. "But if we beat them, we'll be six points ahead. It wouldn't put them out of it because in the Premier League anything can happen in any match."
The City goal tally stands at 115 as Manuel Pellegrini pilots his side towards an unprecedented quadruple. The sight of Fernandinho, Touré, David Silva et al pouring forward can mesmerise and bring to mind Brazil's all-out-attack philosophy.
Yet Fernandinho believes City's style is more akin to the double European and world champions than Brazil. "I think it is more Spanish, the way we play here," he says. "If you remember in the Confederations Cup final last summer, it was 3-0 to Brazil. Spain tried to play the way they always play but Brazil were on top of them. You could say it was typical English football that Brazil played. When Brazil try to keep the ball like Spain, it seems they do not play so well."
Fernandinho is clear that City must win something this season rather than being remembered only for their football. Again, he points to his homeland. "Brazil are the hosts [of the World Cup] and Scolari needs to have a team who can win no matter. You think about past World Cups – in 2006 it was a fantastic Brazil team but we did not do so well that year. In 2010 the same, it did not go far either, only the quarter-finals. But in 94 and 2002 Brazil did not play the best football but won the World Cup; they found a way to win. Back in Brazil they talk about the great teams they had in 82 and 86. Fantastic teams to watch, great players. But they didn't win. You think about those players – Zico, Falcão, you could say they were the best team – but they didn't win. We pray that it won't be [the same for City]. We really want to win trophies and it's important."
Fernandinho has made 30 appearances and scored three times for City. And life away from the pitch is also enjoyable, as he finds a novel way of learning the language. "BBC Manchester. I listen to the Manchester news on local radio. It has helped me learn English. I have it on when I am driving to training in the morning," he says. "I like the radio because it makes you listen. When you are talking to me in a room like this, I look at your lips and try to learn but when you are listening on the radio you can't see but you can hear."