Bruno Fernandes has leapt to the defence of Cristiano Ronaldo following criticism of his involvement in Juventus’ Champions League exit, with the Manchester United midfielder pointing out that even “one of the greats” cannot be expected to “win alone”.
Having previously failed to guide the Bianconeri past the quarter-final stage, another last-16 setback has been suffered against Porto this season, with questions being asked of Ronaldo’s contribution in the present and his long-term future at the Allianz Stadium.
Fernandes, who plays alongside the 36-year-old with Portugal, has told Gazzetta dello Sport of an illustrious countryman: “Cristiano is one of the greats in football history.
“His mentality inspires those who practice this sport.
“He has won a lot, but no-one can win alone. I understand that his presence at Juve had created enormous expectations for the Champions League, but when a team lose, the whole squad lose, not one single player.”
While another continental campaign has come to a close for Juve and Ronaldo, Fernandes still has his sights set on major honours.
The Red Devils playmaker is readying himself for a heavyweight clash with AC Milan in the last-16 of the Europa League.
Both sides have reason to believe that they can book a quarter-final berth, with Fernandes seeing similarities between two European giants that have fallen on hard times of late.
He added: “In some respects, we and Milan are the same.
“Two clubs with a prestigious past, with 10 Champions League trophies in the cabinet, both have gone through a phase of transition, but are returning to the top.
“At the beginning of the season, no-one thought that Milan could fight for the Scudetto. We are in March and they are second. They play well, have interesting young players and the added value of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s strength.”
Enigmatic Swedish striker Ibrahimovic will play no part against his former club at Old Trafford on Thursday as he has suffered an untimely thigh injury.
There will, however, be plenty of quality on show, with Fernandes seeking to cement his standing as a talismanic presence for the Red Devils by guiding them to long-awaited silverware.
He has registered 23 goals and 12 assists this season, with a positive response offered in a derby date with Manchester City last time out to those who have accused him of going missing in big games.
Source : goal.com