Fernandes & Man United
There is absolutely no doubting that Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s standout player since his arrival from Sporting in January of 2020.
The attacking midfielder has netted an impressive 43 goals and provided 25 assists in just 83 outings for the Red Devils, with his exploits in the 2nd half of 2019/20 one of the only reasons United were able to secure Champions League football that season.
Fernandes’ fine form has continued into the current campaign, with the 26-year-old netting a hat-trick against Leeds United on the opening weekend – and none of them were even penalties!
Fernandes stars without Ronaldo
But whilst Fernandes has been a star for Man United, the 26-year-old has never really been a key figure for his national side, Portugal.
Before Tuesday, Fernandes had scored just five and assisted five in 35 outings for A Selecao – a dismal return compared to his outputs at both United and Sporting.
Fernandes would also have a pretty dismal Euro 2020, being subbed off after just 64 minutes in Portugal’s 4-2 loss vs Germany before then only coming off the bench vs France and Belgium.
Why Fernandes has been so poor for Portugal over the years is not 100 per cent known.
However, Tuesday does seem to suggest that Fernandes’ ability to shine for his country is hampered by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo would not feature in Portugal’s World Cup qualifier vs Azerbaijan after being suspended last week vs the Republic of Ireland.
Fernandes, on the other hand, would start in Baku and put on one of his best displays for his country.
The United man controlled the game and created countless chances, including setting up Bernardo Silva for the opener.
He then got the pre-assist for Andre Silva’s 31st-minute strike
Of course, Fernandes putting on a rare starring display for Portugal without Ronaldo could just be a coincidence, but Man United fans will no doubt be hopeful that Fernandes’ displays for his club are not impacted by Ronaldo’s arrival.