Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo may seem like a dream pairing at Manchester United, but the Portuguese duo clashed at Old Trafford as they were defeated by a well organsised Aston Villa side.
The combination of Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be a fearsome concept, but the pairing may actually be causing more problems than initially considered, as the pair clashed on multiple occasions in the defeat to Aston Villa, including a last-minute penalty miss.
Manchester United were frustrated by a well drilled Villa side, and saw almost all of their shots blocked throughout the first half, with Dean Smith’s side defending perfectly in front of Emiliano Matinez’ goal.
Villa continued this solodity into the second half, and were rewarded for their efforts as Kortney Hause headed in a late winner from a Douglas Luiz corner, but United were awarded a lifeline in the final moments as they were awarded a penalty.
Fans have been waiting to see whether Fernandes or Ronaldo would step up in the event of a penalty, and this was finally answered as Fernandes resumed spot kick duty, but the midfielder blazed his effort over the bar to hand Villa all three points.
The Portuguese pair appeared to clash all game, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have an issue on his hands.
Ronaldo was re-signed by United on Deadline Day for a fee of £25million from Juventus, marking a sensational homecoming after 12 years away from Old Trafford as he broke onto the world scene.
Ronaldo and Fernandes were already teammates with the Portuguese national team, and the prospect of the two linking up for United as well rightfully excited fans, and things got off to the best possible start against Newcastle, as both scored on Ronaldo’s second debut.
The pair also linked up to put United ahead in their Champions League group opener against Young Boys too, but the Red Devils ultimately lost the match 2-1 in Switzerland.
Although United have two quality players on their books, there does appear to be an ego clash at Old Trafford, as Fernandes has gone from being the main man, to being shadowed by Ronaldo once more, just like he is with the Portugal national team.
The pair are both born winners, and share the same mindset and ambitions when it comes to performances as a team, but there is a constant battle for United’s set pieces with both trying to create that one moment of magic.
It’s not just dead ball situations either, as Ronaldo seemed frustrated with Fernandes at times against Villa for shooting from range, rather than trying to create a chance for the 36-year-old.
When Fernandes scored a stunner following a Ronaldo brace against Newcastle, there was a sense of ‘I’m still here’, reminding United fans that he is still one of their main men regardless of the CR7 homecoming.
Fernandes was signed by United in January 2020, and has followed a similar career path to Ronaldo by joining the club from Sporting Lisbon, and has been hailed as one of the stars that turned fortunes around at Old Trafford.
United have struggled in the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, and where as Ronaldo was thrown in at the deep end as a youngster, Fernandes was part of steering Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side back in the right direction, and has been one of the best Premier League performers since arriving in England.
Fernandes will not want the arrival of Ronaldo to overshadow his impact at United, and the no.18 even saw his display at the front of Old Trafford reduced in size in order to announce the arrival of the five-time Ballon D’or winner.
If the pair can link up and put personal ego aside, then United will be extremely dangerous and tough to handle due to the undeniable quality that both Ronaldo and Fernandes hold.
However, if they do clash and disrupt United moving forward, it could actually cause Solskjaer’s side more harm that good.