Roger Fernandes: The Player Beyond the Noise

It has been a rollercoaster campaign for Braga. After edging TSC and Panathinaikos in the qualifying rounds, the Arsenalistas returned to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 11 years, finishing behind Real Madrid and Napoli and ahead of Union Berlin, before losing to Qarabağ in the first round of the Europa League knockout stage. They were knocked out of the Taça de Portugal in the fifth round by Benfica, but they nevertheless managed to edge Estoril on penalties and claim the Taça da Liga title.


As far as their league campaign is concerned, Braga took a step back. After finishing third with 78 points in 2022/23, Braga found themselves with a golden opportunity to secure a third-place finish as they hosted Porto on the final day. In need of a victory, the home side fell to 10 men early on as Victor Gomez was sent off, with Wenderson Galeno finding the back of the net against his former club and securing a 1-0 victory for Porto.


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Whilst Porto finished third and are guaranteed to play in the UEFA Europa League league phase, Braga need to go through the second qualifying round in order to participate in Europe’s secondary competition. As a result, it is shaping up to be a transitional summer for Braga, who have parted ways with veterans José Fonte and Pizzi and who have already selected a new manager. With Artur Jorge departing for Botafogo in April for €2 million, Rui Duarte took charge on an interim basis, and he has since been replaced by Daniel Sousa, who joins from Arouca.


From Vitinha (Marseille – €32m) to David Carmo (Porto – €20m), Braga are accustomed to losing their best players for sizable fees. This year, they’ve already sold Al Musrati to Beşiktaş for €11m and Álvaro Djaló to Athletic Club for €15m, and with his contract up in the air, it seems that Roger Fernandes could be their next big-money sale.


Born in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, Fernandes left Africa at a young age and made his way through the ranks of Braga’s academy before eventually making his first-team debut in the 2021 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira at the tender age of 15 years, 8 months and 12 days. Yet another rising star of Portuguese football, the teenage prodigy has captured the attention of fans and pundits alike, both on the pitch and more recently off of it.


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What Type of Player Is Roger?


At just 18 years old, he’s already making waves at SC Braga with his meteoric rise through the ranks. Fernandes exudes swagger, personality, and self-confidence — qualities that served him well on his way to senior football. As a left-footed player playing either flank but mostly on the right, he combines the best of both worlds: a traditional winger who dribbles like a dream, hugging the touchline, capable of pinpoint crosses into the box, with rapid pace, nimbleness, and the ability to cut inside.


Despite accumulating just 672 minutes of senior football for Braga, he’s already notched two goals and seven assists. The recent controversy regarding his contract renewal with Braga has unfortunately overshadowed what should be regarded as an exciting period for both the player and club, stifling the youngster’s progress as a result.


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Physical Profile 


Standing at 5’7, Roger Fernandes displays all the dogged characteristics of a traditional winger, combining pace and power in all of his actions, including his carrying, pressing, as well as movement on and off the ball. The Portuguese youngster often uses his pace as and strength in maneuvering himself against opposition fullbacks, providing an extra edge to his 1v1 capabilities.


Technical Profile


Despite being tenacious in his actions, it’s his technical skills that make him a standout. Roger puts his two-footedness to good use adding to his unpredictability when being marked. Being that his inclination outside is to hug the touchline despite playing mostly on the flank opposite to his preferred foot, Roger is a creative powerhouse from those wide positions, particularly through his crossing on either his favoured left or weaker right.



This explains a couple of things, one being his low xAssists in comparison to his actual assists (the further the pass from the box, the lower the xA), as well as the ratio of his 7 assists to his much fewer 2 goals (showing his preference for chance creation over conversion in his final third actions).


Mental Profile 


In the execution of most of his actions, there’s always an element of aggression, which is quite suited to his role as winger and is evidenced in his constant demand for the ball, never hiding away and always wanting to take defenders on. His tenacious personality also contributes to his defending as well, rarely shying away from a press. However, he can be rather rash and lose such duels as a result, but on the ball, his strength compensates for this kind of misjudgments.



Playing style


On the Ball


The Portuguese youngster is very much a traditional winger, a vertical carrier who can cause havoc with his dribbling. Despite playing on the flank opposite his preferred foot, he is inclined to be a straight line carrier. This element of his game isn’t rigid though, as Roger has shown his capacity to carry diagonally in the final third, showing signs that he can be coached into being a more potent box threat.


It only takes a couple glances of Roger’s carrying to see how obviously fast the youngster is, powerful and dogged in nature. However, it’s his acceleration that catches the eye and demonstrates his elite talent because it takes reasoning to know when to kick into gear and where. Despite his glaring lack of experience, Roger does so just fine and picks his moments with composure.


The teenage winger’s inclination in his final third actions are oriented towards chance creation, preferring to hold width and provide through his crossing, which he’s also quite good at. He will rarely choose to drive diagonally into the box, though he’s still young enough to be trained to be a more adaptable box-based attacking threat.


Photo: Sofascore


Off the Ball


His tenacious nature isn’t exclusively on the ball, as the youngster is also an ambitious presser and counter-presser once possession has been lost in an area of close proximity (averaging 2.9 recoveries per game). However, there’s still plenty of room for improvement in the timing and execution of his presses.


Statistical Analysis 


Roger Fernandes is an attacking winger who contributes significantly on both ends of the pitch. While he might not be a goal-scoring machine with 2 goals in 14 appearances, his efficiency is evident in his xG (expected goals) of 3.48, indicating he creates high-quality scoring chances despite limited minutes. Moreover, Fernandes is a creative force with 7 assists and 1.1 key passes per game.


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Fernandes also boasts a good passing accuracy of 81%, ensuring his teammates receive the ball cleanly. Defensively, Fernandes is no slouch either. He contributes 1.1 tackles per game and wins nearly half of his duels (48%). While not a ball-winning machine, he avoids conceding fouls (0.6 per game). Overall, his statistics paint the picture of a well-rounded winger with the potential to be a star in the making.




Roger Fernandes, a talented old-school winger with modern potentiates, showcases impressive pace, acceleration, crossing, and dribbling skills. However, he remains unpolished and would benefit from a nurturing environment to maximize his potential.


Consistent playing time in the coming years will be crucial in determining his trajectory as a footballer. While excelling as a touchline winger on either flank, his creative abilities make him a viable option as a wide creator. Even a fullback role might not be entirely out of the question to widen his versatility.


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Grounded in Contract Dispute: The Curious Case of Roger Fernandes


The 18-year-old winger has become embroiled in a curious situation at Braga. Despite his talent and a seemingly iron-clad agreement for a contract extension until 2030, Fernandes finds himself training with the U23s after a disagreement between the club and his representatives.


The issue, as it would appear, stems from finalizing the details of the contract extension. Braga, impressed by Fernandes’ performances (including goals against Qarabağ and Portimonense), is prepared to reward him with a significant salary bump, placing him among the team’s top earners.


However, negotiations with Fernandes’ agents, Federico Pastorello and Fernando Couto, have stalled. Braga believes Pastorello and Couto are hindering progress, citing similar issues during contract renewals for Fernandes’ cousins, Hatayspor winger Joelson Fernandes and Lazio winger Saná Fernandes (he is also the cousin of Ricardo Fernandes, who plays as a center back for Maltese club Gudja United).


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Braga remains eager to resolve the situation and reintegrate Fernandes into the main squad. The club acknowledges Fernandes’ commitment and blames the current situation on miscommunication between the player and his agents. Fernandes himself seems content to stay at Braga.


Roger Fernandes has reportedly maintained a positive relationship with the club despite the demotion. The entire situation leaves fans scratching their heads. With a promising future ahead, will Fernandes and Braga find a way to bridge the gap and get him back on the pitch, or will this contract dispute overshadow his development?


By: @free__flowing

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images