Fernandes focused on Lokomotiv & World Cup dream after Inter interest


Lokomotiv Moscow star Manuel Fernandes insisted he is focused on winning titles in Russia and representing Portugal at this year's World Cup following interest from Serie A giants Inter.

Fernandes has enjoyed a re-emergence in 2017-18, scoring two hat-tricks in the Europa League, while he was pursued by Inter in January.

But the 32-year-old, who has had spells with Benfica, Everton, Valencia and Besiktas in his career, is determined to lead Lokomotiv to glory, despite the Nerazzurri's enquiry.

In an interview with Omnisport, Fernandes - who has under two years remaining on his contract - said: "For the moment I'm just focused on helping Lokomotiv.

"We are top of the league and will face Atletico [Madrid] in Europa League. It is my ambition to achieve something special this season.

"About Inter, they made an offer but Lokomotiv refused. Serie A is one of the big five leagues, they have great clubs and players, so it's always a desirable destination.

"But I am 100 per cent with my mind in Lokomotiv. There's plenty to win before thinking about the future."

Lokomotiv are flying high in the Russian Premier League, top of the table and eight points clear of Zenit after 20 matches.

Fernandes has scored five league goals this season and he added: "The Russian league is very competitive and the level is high. I'm aware it's not one of the most popular leagues yet, but there has been a significant improvement. Most stadiums are top level and Russians enjoy football very much so the ambience in matches is good.

"I've helped Lokomotiv conquering two cups of Russia and this season we are first in the league while doing well in Europa League. I feel comfortable here and expect to win more titles this season."

Fernandes' form has catapulted him into contention for Portugal's squad for the World Cup in Russia.

The veteran was left out of the squad for country's triumphant Euro 2016 campaign but he was called up for their last two international friendlies against Saudi Arabia and the United States.

And Fernandes is expected to be selected again by head coach Fernando Santos for this month's matches against Egypt and the Netherlands.

"I'm very aware of how difficult it will be to get in that final list of players that will represent Portugal in the World Cup," Fernandes said. "We are European champions, the squad is formed by brilliant players and fortunately the national coach Fernando Santos has plenty to choose from.

"Personally, it would mean a lot to be in that squad, I'm sure it will be the best moment of my career. I've played four qualification phases for major competitions with the national team and would be the biggest honour to fight for the World Cup with my country."