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Bruno Fernandes ‘didn’t CONNECT with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, claims Rio Ferdinand, because the playmaker wasn’t central to the team’s play and says he became ‘disinterested’ until the forward’s exit
- Rio Ferdinand says Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo didn’t connect at Man United
- Fernandes’ form dipped after the forward made his return to Old Trafford
- Ferdinand believes Fernandes prefers to be the focal point in the United team
Man United legend Rio Ferdinand has claimed Bruno Fernandes struggled to connect with Cristiano Ronaldo at the club because the playmaker prefers to be the focal point of the team.
Ronaldo’s fairytale return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021 stole headlines but the Portuguese forward began to dominate much of United’s 21-22 season with his conduct on and off the pitch.
Fernandes’ form began to suffer during that spell while Ronaldo finished as the club’s top scorer on 24 goals – and Ferdinand feels the midfielder was unable to find his best game due to his team-mates ‘looking past him’.
Speaking on his VibeWithFive YouTube show, Ferdinand insisted Fernandes was better for United when Ronaldo was not in the team – with the 28-year-old now in red-hot form under Erik ten Hag since his Portugal team-mate’s contract was terminated last year.
‘There are some players where their game just does not connect and I think Cristiano and Bruno… Bruno was just better when he was not there or not in the team,’ he said.
Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo did not connect at Man United, claims Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand believes Fernandes clashed with Ronaldo because he was ‘the guy the game needs to go through’
‘I think that might be because Bruno needs to be the guy that the game goes through, and I think the problem with Cristiano Ronaldo is because of his reputation and how good he is, people feel that they need to find him.
‘I have played in teams where you have got a great No.9 and your first look is the No.9. When they are that good, you do look beyond everybody else and I had like [Paul] Scholesy and [Michael] Carrick in front of me.
‘Sometimes I looked past them first. But Bruno wants the first look and says, “Give me the first look, as I want to be the guy who plays the ball to define the game”.
‘If he wasn’t getting that first look, maybe he became a bit disinterested, I don’t know, and it didn’t suit him. You are seeing the best of him now because the game seems to be going through him more often than not at Man United.’
He thinks the playmaker became ‘disinterested’ at United while Ronaldo was in the team
Fernandes has scored seven goals and laid on five assists for United in all competitions this season as one of United’s most influential players, with the playmaker enjoying an incredible January that saw him involved in a goal during every game bar one.
He joined United from Sporting Lisbon for £68million in 2020 and became an instant hit among fans as he scored 12 times after joining in January and then netted 28 times the following season.
Fernandes had a tough campaign in 2021-22, scoring just ten when Ronaldo arrived, but has looked back to his old self this season.
It comes after the player urged the media to ‘stop using my name to attack Ronaldo’ after some publications suggested he said United were ‘playing like a team’ since he exited the club.
Fernandes is now in red-hot form for United since Ronaldo’s contract was terminated last year
After United’s 2-1 win over City last month, Fernandes said: ”[We] used to be individuals, now we are a team. You can see a proper team that works for each other.’
After some interpreted that as throwing shade at Ronaldo, Fernandes hit back with a furious post on social media.
‘I know that is difficult to see Manchester United doing well, [but I] don’t have anything to [say] about us on the news apart good things,’ he said in a story posted on Saturday.
Don’t use my name to attack Cristiano. Cristiano was part of our team for half the season and as I said in many interviews, everyone since Liverpool is being amazing and acting like a proper team and you can see the results. We carry on!’
There have been rumours of a rift between the Portugal teammates before, when they appeared to offer each other frosty greetings at their World Cup camp shortly after Ronaldo’s explosive interview that led to his departure from Old Trafford.