Bruno Fernandes isn’t worried about Manchester United’s future after Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic departure, insisting he doesn’t need to ‘choose sides’.
Ronaldo’s contract at Old Trafford was terminated with immediate effect on Tuesday following the damaging interview in which he criticized both the club hierarchy and manager Erik ten Hag.
The 37-year-old left United unrewarded and will now play alongside international team-mate Fernandes as a free agent in Portugal’s World Cup opener against Ghana on Thursday.
Fernandes will return to Old Trafford after the World Cup in Qatar without his compatriot but said he did not feel under pressure to side with Ronaldo or his club in the dispute.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable. I don’t have to pick a side,” he said.
“It was a privilege to play with Cristiano at the club, a dream and I’ve always said that. Cristiano has always been an inspiration to me.
“It was a dream come true to be able to play with Cristiano, it was great for me and while it lasted. Cristiano made a different decision for his life, his career and we have to respect those decisions.
“Every decision must be respected. As players but also as parents, brothers, we know that it can be difficult to make certain decisions, but these decisions must be for our well-being and that of our families.
News of Ronaldo’s departure from United was followed by the Glazer family confirming that they had begun “a process of exploring strategic alternatives for the club”, effectively putting the club up for sale.
Fernandes insisted he was not concerned about the state of the club he will return to. “I’m not the least bit worried about the future of the club or the club’s decisions,” he said. “My goal is here, at the World Cup, and I want to do my best to represent my country.”