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‘I cannot blame Cristiano Ronaldo’ – Bruno Fernandes admits lack of form isn’t down to icon’s return to Manchester United

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Bruno Fernandes has rejected suggestions that his Manchester United form suffered as a result of Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival.

The Portuguese midfielder was United’s star man in 2020/21 after scoring 28 goals and getting 17 assists in his first full campaign with the club.

Fernandes believes that Ronaldo is actually good for his form at Man United

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Fernandes believes that Ronaldo is actually good for his form at Man United

Ronaldo and Fernandes are friends and colleagues for both club and country

Getty

Ronaldo and Fernandes are friends and colleagues for both club and country

The summer of 2021 saw Ronaldo arrive from Juventus in a blockbuster deal, but on paper, it had a detrimental impact to Fernandes’ contribution with the 28-year-old scoring just 10 and contributing 13 assists.

Much has been made of Ronaldo’s on and off-field influence since arriving back at the club for his second spell, but according to Fernandes, his influence has only been a good thing for his performances.

Asked if Ronaldo’s introduction hampered his form, Fernandes told The Athletic: “Most of my assists last season were for him, so I don’t think (it is fair).

“I just had a poor season in terms of my own numbers. I don’t think it is about Cristiano or myself.

“Before he came, I was also taking the penalties, but I had two chances to take the penalties last season and I missed both. So I cannot blame Cristiano for taking penalties, especially when he scores them.

“When I missed against Arsenal in April, it was him who gave me the ball and said, ‘Go yourself and score’. I missed but I felt that he trusted me to be the one to step up and score in the big moment. So I don’t think it is because of Cristiano, it is because I didn’t do the best in myself in some moments to get goals or assists.


Ronaldo has had a big influence on United since coming back to the club

AFP

Ronaldo has had a big influence on United since coming back to the club

Fernandes is hoping to continue his partnership with Ronaldo

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Fernandes is hoping to continue his partnership with Ronaldo

“In the national team, I play with him and when I score, he is on the pitch. To play with Cristiano as a No.10 is actually really good because players respect Cristiano so much that it creates more space, as the opponents are afraid of him taking the ball and scoring.

“They want to mark him and (they) create an overload where he is to mark him. For example, when I scored two goals against North Macedonia (in March’s play-off that secured World Cup qualification for Portugal), one was from his assist and the other was from his run which created the space behind him for me to score.

“I played the last four Premier League games (through the Arsenal match) without Cristiano starting and I scored only one goal. So it is not because of Cristiano. It is about momentum, timing. Sometimes it goes in a bad way and sometimes a better way.

“Obviously he can be really good to play together with, for someone who gives assists, as if you give him the right ball, he will score goals.”

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