Bruno Fernandes insists playing with Cristiano Ronaldo will ‘never be a problem’

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Bruno Fernandes has moved to clarify his stance on playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo after he was accused of aiming a thinly-veiled dig at the Manchester United forward.

After United’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, which Ronaldo missed due to his continued absence for personal reasons, Fernandes hailed the front three of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for pressing well and giving more freedom to the midfield – comments which have been interpreted as criticism of Ronaldo’s inactivity in attack.

However, speaking to Sky Sports, he stressed that he has no problems playing alongside Ronaldo.

“As I have always said, I am there to serve my strikers,” he said.

“I think we had an amazing start to the season when Cristiano came in. After that, I scored many goals playing with Cristiano. I think all of my goals came alongside Cristiano. That was not the problem at all.

“I’ve been playing with him for the international team, we qualified for the Euros with an assist from him to me, so [Ronaldo] will never be the problem. Good players like this can fit together at any time.

“I’m here to make my strikers happy, to make them enjoy the game. That is the job of the midfield and if they score goals and get their numbers, then I will be happy for them because the team will get better results.”

Fernandes’ comments were echoed by Raphael Varane, who insisted nobody at United believes they would be better off without Ronaldo.

“Cristiano is a great competitor, he’s a legend,” the centre-back said. “Obviously it’s very good to play with him and he always helps the team.

“He’s a great player and we all want the best players in the team. We will try to improve next season.

“We appreciate him as a player and as a person. I think this debate was outside of the dressing room. We know his quality. And we know he’s very famous, so we know a lot of people will speak about the performance of the team and his performance.”

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