Bruno Fernandes: 8 things you probably didn’t know about Manchester United’s talisman
Three years ago, Bruno Fernandes was an unknown. Today, he’s Manchester United’s most important player. While he’s shining on the pitch, this talented player is still a mystery.
Here are 8 things you didn’t know about Bruno Fernandes…
1. His idols: Before becoming a role model himself, Bruno Fernandes was inspired by the greats. Since his childhood, the Portuguese star loved artists to impress with their techniques.
He told Man United Podcast in 2020: “When I grew up, the first player I really liked to watch was Ronaldinho. He had this kind of magic that nobody else had. He went everywhere with a smile on his face. He’d take a tackle and still be smiling. He’d give a nutmeg and have a smile on his face. If he won he had a smile on his face and even if he lost, he still had a smile on his face. And when you watched Ronaldinho you understand what it is to enjoy football.”
Fernandes was also inspired by another giant. He said: “When Cristiano Ronaldo began to take his first steps in the national team, it was in the Euros 2004 in our home country Portugal and I was nine years old. That year stays with everyone because we lost the final and we saw him crying afterwards. He was a young boy who was starting to shine and from there I started to watch him.”
Like many others, it is CR7’s mental strenght that seem to impress him the most.
“It was the way he worked everyday. The mentality he has, the capacity 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.”
2. He started out as a central defender! Before becoming a maestro compared to Andrea Pirlo, Bruno was a defender, a position he didn’t choose and which could have given him a completely different trajectory.
“I played central defender for the most part when I started playing football. I was really good, I had a coach who said to me, ‘if you want to be a top player you need to play as a central defender. If you want to be a good player, you will be a midfielder. At the time I didn’t like to play there, but everyone was saying I was a good defender. They said I was smart, that I covered the sides.”
Hmmmm. Missed opportunity moving to midfield? Not so sure after the way his career has turned out.
3. 8 is his lucky number: Since joining Manchester United, he’s had the number 18 on his jersey but 8 is the number he holds there to his heart. He even has it tatooed to his right arm.
“It was a number that I love because my father wore it when he was a player but it is also the date of my birthday ().”
The day number 8 (currently worn by Juan Mata) becomes available will be a real dilemma for him, no?
4. He learned Italian by himself. Bruno Fernandes left Portugal for Italy when he was 17. He signed for Novare after being rejected by Boavista but the kid wasn’t prepared. He didn’t speak the language and suffered from serious home sickness. But he worked hard and learnt Italian by himself.
According to Cristiano Giaretta (former Sporting Director of Novare), “Bruno put Post-Its everywhere to familiarize himself with the language. ‘Tavalo‘ on the table, ‘Sedia‘ on the chairs, ‘Frigo‘ on the refrigerator…He was very intelligent. After a month, he could already speak Italian! It was amazing. At 17 he already had great willpower.”
After working extremely hard for five years to move forward, he was rewarded. He returned to Portugal to sign for Sporting and became a star.
5. He has a strange penalty taking technique. There’s no doubt Bruno Fernandes is a penalty specialist, a reputation he owes to his somewhat academic approach to taking them.
Like Chelsea’s Jorginho, he jumps before striking the ball, a technique that confuses goalkeepers.
What’s the secret behind that routine?
Bruno told www.uefa.com: “I don’t have a secret. I train a lot and I always pay attention to the goalkeeper’s behaviour. I adapt to what I feel on the pitch and then I decide how to shoot. I don’t have a specific technique, I do what seems right at that moment.”
The Red Devils‘ player always like to stay one step ahead. “Sometimes, I change everything so the goalkeeper isn’t sure of himself. It’s not to scare him, instead it is to change the look of the game and even trick him.”
A gamble that works everytime! Of his first 30 penalties taken, he only missed one.
6. He cried when he found out he was going to Manchester United. What would your reaction be if your dream club wanted to sign you? Bruno Fernandes was overcome with emotion.
He told Mario Djubovski’s Instagram in 2020: “When I got the call, I told my wife, my brother, my sister, my mother and I started to cry with happiness. I’d fought all my life for this. They knew my biggest dream was to play for Manchester United.”
Yes, he cried but now it is opposing goalkeepers who are crying.
7. He had a poster of Stephen Ireland in his bedroom. Stephen who? Yea, Ireland is the former Manchester City player whose career didn’t turn out as it should have but Bruno loved him, growing up.
Ireland said: “Bruno told me that, as a kid, he had a poster of me. He said that when he played Football Manager, he always signed me! I was like ‘you’d me on a poster? And seriously you signed me for Football Manager?‘
Both of them live in the same neighbourhood in Manchester.
8. He humilaited his older brother’s friends at football. Like many other kids, Bruno learnt to play the real football on the streets where anything can happen but the kid wasn’t afraid of anything.
“I grew up with my brother who’s five years older than me and so I grew up playing with him and his friends. Most of the time I wouldn’t play because he didn’t want me to play with his friends. I don’t know if he was afraid that I was too good for them. I always wanted to play with the older ones and the problem was I didn’t want to just play, I wanted to be the best out of all of them. And if I need to do a nutmeg on someone I’ll do it. I don’t care. The older guys are mad when they see a little boy do that. Everyone starts shouting and laughing at them. And then someone can come for you and kick you so I think sometimes my brother was afraid of this and other times he knew I was good enough to play against them and so he just doesn’t want problems.”