Ole discusses Ronaldo debut
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Bruno Fernandes has voiced his delight at Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford for a second spell – claiming that Ronaldo was his favourite player growing up. Fernandes, 26, joined Manchester United in January 2020 from Sporting for a reported fee of £67.6million – breaking the Portuguese side’s sale record, and becoming United’s fifth-most expensive signing in the process.
And the midfielder has shown his virtuoso at Old Trafford; becoming adored by his fans after consistent displays of playmaking vintage.
In what was a period of transition for United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Fernandes guided his Norwegian boss through the mire after joining the club in sixth place, with the Red Devils finishing third on goal difference and qualifying for the Champions League as a result.
It became a brilliant feat for the club, especially after missing out on Europe’s most prestigious competition the year before.
United fans have viewed Fernandes almost as the rebirth of Ronaldo since his move 18 months ago – with Ronaldo showcasing his talents in Manchester from 2003 to 2009.
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But, after a shock transfer occurred in the space of hours, Ronaldo joined United after years of dominance in Spain and Italy – pitting the two together at club level for the first time ever.
Fernandes told of his delight that Ronaldo would be linking up with him in the north west – and couldn’t wait to get started with arguably the world’s best player.
“Growing up, everyone knows Cristiano was my favourite player,” Fernandes told Manchester United’s official website. (LINK)
“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.
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“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.
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“Coming back with the mentality that is, ‘OK 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.
“There are a lot of matches that have inspired me. If you watch, in the world of football, the final of the Champions League, of the Euros or the World Cups, it’s difficult to choose one.
“But I think, for me, as a Portuguese, the final of the 2016 Euros is an inspiration for every kid.
“At that moment, I was not a kid anymore but the inspiration for every Portuguese player, for example, because we’d never won anything in the national team.
“We arrived at that moment against every chance to win that Euros so, as a Portuguese, I’m really proud of that and it’s one of the games I remember more.”
Fernandes has arguably recreated that in his spell at the Theatre of Dreams; his determination, will and most of all skill set has been pivotal in him becoming United’s key figure.
And fans of the Red Devils will be hoping that United’s Portuguese pair will link up even better once they start to gel at club level.
They may see the pair link up for the first time in the home fixture against Newcastle on September 11 – with a sneak preview likely to occur in Portugal’s World Cup qualifiers this week.
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