Manchester United star-midfielder Bruno Fernandes has revealed who his footballing heroes are with former United great Cristiano Ronaldo getting a special mention from the Reds’ Portuguese Magnifico.
Fernandes, 26, joined United in January but despite only being with the club for less than 12-months, the talented midfielder has already written his name in United folklore.
The 26-year-old made his Old Trafford switch from Sporting Lisbon in a move which cost the club’s hierarchy £49.5m, as per TransferMarkt.
Despite his hefty price-tag, the creative midfielder has already been directly involved in 31 goals in 33 matches in all competitions as his on-field impacts cannot be underestimated.
Fernandes was back in action last night when Portugal faced-off against Paul Pogba’s France in the UEFA Nations League, and despite losing the game 1-0, Fernandes enjoyed another decent game.
United’s midfielder looked like a constant creative threat as he continually sprayed defence splitting passes from deep areas.
Unfortunately the Portuguese star was unable to be the difference his country needed but the 26-year-old did show glimpses of working well with world-class attacker Cristiano Ronaldo.
Speaking exclusively to Man United’s official podcast, Fernandes was asked who his footballing heroes are and why, he said: “The first one was Ronaldinho.
“When I grew up, the first player I really liked to watch was him. He had this kind of magic that nobody else had. He was just a different player. He went everywhere with a smile on his face, he’d take a tackle and still smiling, he gives a ‘meg and he’d have a smile on his face, he loses, he has a smile on his face, he wins and he has a smile on his face.
“He’s just the sort of player you enjoy watching. It was really important for me watching him when I was growing up because when you are a kid, you have to enjoy your football. That is the time to enjoy football. And when you watch him, you understand what it means to enjoy football.
“For me he was the first player I ever watched and then, 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 percent 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? Ok, you will have bad games for sure, everyone has – Cristiano has had bad games, 100 percent – but the point is, coming back from a bad game. 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. I can say there are three players in my position who I appreciate a lot.”
Fernandes went onto highlight another three of the sport’s greats who play in a similar position to the one he does, he said: “One of them is Andres Iniesta, for me he is the best one, the one I like most, and the other two are Zinedine Zidane and Andreas Pirlo.
“Pirlo started out as a number-10, then he started to move back to become a number-six and I think my career will be a little bit like this! I hope not, because I prefer to play as a number-10, but every coach I’ve had in the past, they’ve all said the same – you will be a great number-six. I don’t know, I prefer to be a number-10 because I’m closer to the goals, I’m closer to assist my team-mates and I like to play there, but Pirlo was a player who improved at all positions.
“He plays as a number-10, then he plays as a number-eight and he improves, then he plays as a number-six and he improves.
“He was always good, he’s that kind of player. You look at him and his hair is always in the same place – and he has big hair, it’s impossible!
“He has that class, he has something different to everyone else. And Zidane… what a player. A masterclass number-10.”