Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has opened up about how he has been inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo.
The pair will line up together at this summer’s Euros, as Portugal defend their crown, with Ronaldo – who starred at United from 2003 to 2009 – captaining the Seleccao once again.
Fernandes is now following in Ronaldo’s footsteps at club level, becoming one of their star players, although he is yet to win silverware with the Premier League side.
But it wasn’t Ronaldo’s heroics at United that made him a role model for Fernandes.
Instead, it was his performances at the 2004 European Championships.
Fernandes told the club website: “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 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.”
And he added it’s Ronaldo’s resilience that he has shown throughout his career that Fernandes applies to his own game.
He said: “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.
“Coming back with the mentality that is, ‘okay 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.”
Fernandes had an impressive season with 28 goals and 18 assists to his name but a lack of silverware is becoming the elephant in the room.
United are prepared to spend big in the transfer window to try and bag their first trophy since 2017.