The Portuguese playmaker has become a talismanic presence at Old Trafford, as he follows in the footsteps of an iconic countryman
Bruno Fernandes admits to taking inspiration from all areas of Cristiano Ronaldo’s game, with the Manchester United midfielder following in illustrious footsteps at Old Trafford.
A fellow countryman started out on his path to superstardom with Premier League heavyweights, with the first of five Ballons d’Or and as many Champions League crowns secured while in England.
Ronaldo has gone on to cement a standing as an all-time great, with Fernandes taking important lessons from the 36-year-old when it comes to seeking continuous improvement and shrugging off any setbacks.
What has been said?
Fernandes, who has become the latest Portuguese talisman in Manchester, has told United’s official website of emulating his idol and current international colleague: “Growing up, everyone knows Cristiano was my favourite player.
“I think it was a little bit of everything. When Cristiano began to take his first steps in the national team, it was in the Euros in our home country [Euro 2004], so I was nine years old. That year stays with everyone because we lost the final in Portugal, we saw him crying after the final, he was a young boy who was starting to shine and from there I started to watch him.
“It wasn’t because he plays in my position because that wasn’t the case, but it was the way he worked every day, the mentality he had, the capacity he had to give 100 per cent in every game at a high level, for me it was like a motivation, like you always have to do better. He was scoring goals every game, but game after game he was still trying to improve, get better.
“My mentality comes a little bit from understanding what sort of player you want to be. Do you want to be that player who has a good season, and maybe goes up and down, up and down, or do you want to be the player who always wants to be at the top? Okay, you will have bad games for sure, everyone has – Cristiano has had bad games, 100 per cent – but the point is, coming back from a bad game.
“Coming back with the mentality that is, ‘okay I didn’t play well in that last game and I really need to do well in this one’. The mentality to do better day after day is really important for me. I’m improving a lot because of this, and that was my biggest motivation.”
The bigger picture
Fernandes boasts the same relentless drive for perfection as Ronaldo, with the 26-year-old stating on a regular basis that he will not settle for second best at United.
He is doing all he can to put the Red Devils back on a trophy trail, with a further 28 goals and 18 assists added to his impressive tally in 2020-21.
Those efforts were not enough to deliver major silverware, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer forced back to the drawing board.
There has been talk of Ronaldo being drafted back into those plans, as he approaches the final year of his contract at Juventus, but no deal has been discussed as yet and recruitment plans continue to be pieced together ahead of the summer transfer window.