Bruno Fernandes has revealed how Cristiano Ronaldo has inspired him to follow in his footsteps by winning trophies with Manchester United.
For a club of their stature, United’s trophy cabinet has endured a barren few years, with no honours added since their League Cup and Europa League double in 2016-17.
The arrival of Fernandes in January, however, has been a statement of intent from the Red Devils as they look to take more steps back in the right direction.
The attacking midfielder has hit the ground running at Old Trafford, and has confirmed that he is eager to continue the tradition of Portuguese attacking players excelling for the club.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani won big trophies here and that makes me want to achieve that,” he told Canal 11.
“Nani, with whom I had the opportunity to train at Sporting, has always spoken well to me about Manchester United.
“And the fact that Cristiano has given a lot of good references to whoever spoke to him during my transfer makes me proud, for a player like him to recognise my worth.”
Elaborating further on his relationship with former United star Ronaldo, Fernandes admits his pride at the recognition his compatriot has given him.
“When you go to the national team and bump into the best player in the world it leaves a mark on you.
“The first time I arrived I had the opportunity to talk to him. He even came to me and said ‘So, are you doing well at Sporting? You have scored a few goals.’ It was Ronaldo who came alongside me and said I was doing well.
“The words he said were meaningless emotionally, but just the fact that a player like him is aware that I’m doing, you do think ‘how is this possible?’ Of course he was at Sporting, the club that made him and for which he has an affection.
“Cristiano gave me very good references before United signed me, it makes me proud that a player like him recognises my value.”
Despite that, Fernandes is not sure his valuation in the transfer market – United paid €55m for his signature, although it could rise to €80m – was accurate.
“Never were the values so high as now,” he admitted.
“I think it’s an exaggeration. My transfer, the figure mentioned, the add-ons that could still be, the value that was paid for me was very high.
“Players that were bought at that value some time ago were Ballon d’Or winners.”