MOSCOW, July 13 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to Brazilian football player Mario Fernandes in a presidential decree published by the Internet portal of legal information on Wednesday.
CSKA FC player Mario Fernandes, who applied for a Russian passport in May this year, is not going to renounce his Brazilian citizenship."Everything is okay, I am going to hold dual citizenship, both Russian and Brazilian," Fernandes told TASS.
For his part, Vitaly Mutko, Russian Sports Minister and the Russian Football Union president, thanked President Putin for granting the Russian citizenship to Mario Fernandes.
"The player wanted to hold a Russian passport. I am grateful to the head of state for his support," Mutko told TASS.
Mutko confirmed that under the FIFA rules a player who wants to change his citizenship for playing football and who has played for his country’s national team only in unofficial matches, is supposed to reside for five years in a host country for whose national team he wants to play.
"Right, we are looking forward to the 2018 World Cup," the Russian sports minister stressed.
Fernandes joined CSKA FC in May 2012. In October 2014, he played his first and so far the only match for the Brazilian national team - a friendly vs. the team of Japan (4:0). The Brazilian has played 128 matches for CSKA FC having scored twice. Together with CSKA FC, Fernandes won three Russian national championships (2012/13, 2013/14, 2015/16); and is the holder of the 2012-13 Russian Cup and the 2014 Russian Super Cup.