Bruno Fernandes has addressed speculation Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking to leave Manchester United, saying he "doesn't believe" such a move will materialise.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last year and finished as United's highest scorer in the Premier League with 18 goals – only behind Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in the division (both 23).

However, it was a disappointing season for United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost his job and Ralf Rangnick failed to steady the ship, with the club missing out on a top-four finish and Champions League football.

Recent speculation has suggested Ronaldo is unhappy with United's direction and is seeking a move, and Chelsea have reportedly shown an interest.

Fernandes does not believe a departure will follow, however, and expects to see his compatriot in United training when the pair return from holiday next week.

"From what I've talked to him – we're both on vacation still, and no-one bothers friends on holiday – I hope in four days to find him to train there. I'm not expecting more than that," he told reporters on Thursday.

"As far as I know, there's nothing more to it than that, but everyone takes care of their future. I do not believe that the club is willing to lose an asset like Cristiano."

Fernandes was then asked about the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Sporting CP, where his career began, and acknowledged he was hopeful such a move would happy in the future.

"It would be a great moment for Sporting, almost everyone expects this; I'd like that to happen," Fernandes, also a former Sporting man, added.

"He has the ambition to continue playing for many years. We will see what he will decide, I hope, when the contract with United is over, but the ambition and dream of the fans would be to see Ronaldo playing with the Sporting jersey."

Bruno Fernandes agreed with the Manchester United fans' assessment that the team were "not fit to wear the shirt" in Saturday's humiliating defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

United went down 4-0 at the Amex Stadium and were perhaps fortunate not to have conceded more against a Brighton team previously without a home win in 2022.

This is set to go down as United's worst season of the Premier League era, already having conceded their most goals in a single campaign and certain to fall short of the previous low benchmark in terms of points.

And United supporters turned on their team as a shocking second half played out, chanting: "You're not fit to wear the shirt."

Star midfielder Fernandes had no issue with that view when it was relayed to him in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

"I include myself in that," he said. "What we did today, what I did today, was not enough to be in the Manchester United shirt, and I accept that."

Bruno Fernandes is pleased to have registered his 50th goal for Manchester United, but says it counts for little until the club start winning trophies.

The Portugal international fired in an early opener for United in Monday's routine 3-0 victory over Brentford to reach the half-century mark.

He has now been involved in 61 Premier League goals since his debut in February 2020, a tally bettered only by Mohamed Salah (73) and Harry Kane (65).

While Fernandes has impressed for United across his two years at Old Trafford, the 27-year-old has yet to lift any silverware.

And as another trophyless campaign edges to a conclusion for the Red Devils, Fernandes has set his sights on putting that right.

"I am obviously happy but those numbers don't count," Fernandes told Sky Sports when asked about reaching 50 goals. "I want to get numbers with trophies and not with goals."

Fernandes' goal was his first in nine appearances since scoring against Leeds United in February.

Cristiano Ronaldo added a second from the penalty spot, having earlier had one ruled out for offside, and Raphael Varane rounded off the scoring with his first United goal.

United won 35 points at Old Trafford this season, four more than they accrued on home soil in the 2020-21 campaign.

This latest victory gave interim boss Ralf Rangnick a winning send-off in his final home game, helping to quash a supporter walk-out planned for the second half.

"This was our last game of the season at home so we wanted to give a good result and good performance," Fernandes said.

"We know our standard has not been the same as we expect but last game of the season we finish well at home. Now we have more games to go so focus on those.

"We know that we always have to give something. The fans have been amazing supporting us. 

"We know that our season has not been at the level it should be but there is nothing we can do now but finish in the best way possible, win games and after, think of next season."

United conclude the 2021-22 campaign with trips to Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.

Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 Premier League victory over Brentford on Monday in interim manager Ralf Rangnick's final home game in charge.

Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag at the end of the season, saw his side take the lead inside nine minutes through Bruno Fernandes' 50th goal for the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a first-half strike ruled out but converted from the penalty spot shortly after the hour mark and Raphael Varane forced in a third for the Red Devils.

United are back to within five points of fourth-placed Arsenal and three behind Tottenham in fifth, though they have played two games more than both sides.

Brentford were given an early let-off when Ronaldo lost his footing with only David Raya to beat, but the hosts did not have to wait much longer for their opener.

Anthony Elanga kept the ball in play and picked out Fernandes with the cutback for the midfielder to calmly steer home as he reached double figures for league goals this term.

Ronaldo thought he had added a second for United just before half-time, only for VAR to adjudge that the forward was marginally offside when converting Juan Mata's pass.

Brentford had brief spells on top, with Christian Eriksen testing David de Gea from long range, but Ronaldo killed off the game from the spot after being barged over by Rico Henry.

Varane rounded off the scoring 18 minutes from time with a shot that deflected past Raya to put some more shine on just a third win for his side since February.

 

Bruno Fernandes revealed the desire to win his first trophy at Manchester United was instrumental in his decision to sign a new long-term contract with the club.

The Portugal international put pen to paper on a fresh deal earlier this month – reportedly worth £240,000 a week – that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2026.

Fernandes has been a key figure for the Red Devils since his move from Sporting CP in January 2020, scoring 49 goals and assisting a further 39 in 118 appearances across all competitions.

In fact, his 88 direct goal involvements during that period have only been bettered by five players in Europe’s top five leagues.

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old is still seeking his first trophy with United, who reached last season's Europa League final and a further three semi-finals during his time at the club.

Securing Champions League qualification is the sole priority of this season, with Ralf Rangnick's side seventh in the Premier League and three points behind Tottenham in fourth.

But Fernandes is confident that happier times lie ahead at Old Trafford.

"What I've been told – the way they convinced me to stay for a longer period – [they] make me feel that the future can be brighter," he told Football Focus.

"Obviously, the individual stats are always good, but I still don't win a trophy with the club. We reached one final; we reached many semi-finals, but still no trophy. 

"For me, it's more important that we get this trophy. For every player, you want your individual trophies; you want to have that kind of award. 

"But at the end of the day, you want to win with your team-mates, with your club, with your fans. 

"I'm still not happy; that's why I want to stay at United and try to be happy in the next few years."

Bruno Fernandes has signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United that will keep the midfielder at Old Trafford until at least 2026.

Portugal international Fernandes has been a transformative figure since arriving at United from Sporting CP in January 2020 for an initial fee of £47million (€55m).

The 27-year-old still had three and a half years to run on his deal, with the option to add a further year, but United have moved to extend those terms.

While his new deal sees Fernandes commit to United four another four and a half years, the club has once again retained the right to increase that by an additional 12 months.

 

Fernandes has played 117 times for United since making his debut in February 2020, scoring 49 goals and assisting 39 more in all competitions.

The former Sampdoria star's 88 direct goal involvements over that period has been bettered by only five players in Europe's top five leagues.

Indeed, Fernandes ranks first among United players in terms of goals (35), assists (25) and chances created (201) in the Premier League since he arrived.

The new deal is reported to be worth £240,000 a week, which is a significant increase on Fernandes' previous salary.

Bruno Fernandes has promised Manchester United his best is still to come after signing a new long-term contract at Old Trafford.

United have tied the attacking midfielder down to fresh terms that keep him connected to the club until at least 2026.

The Premier League side also have the option to extend that agreement by a further 12 months, as is common with the contracts they negotiate.

Fernandes still had three and a half years to run on his previous deal, but United were eager not to take any risks with the future of a player who has been a transformative figure since arriving from Sporting CP.

The 27-year-old has racked up 49 goals and 39 assists since arriving in January 2020, but vowed he still has another level to reach with United after his contract renewal was announced on Friday.

"We have shared some great moments over the last years, but the best is yet to come from myself and this team," Fernandes said.

"There is so much more that I want to achieve here, and I know that is the same for the rest of the squad and staff.

"More than anything, we want to give the fans the success that they deserve."

Fernandes has firmly established himself as a United stalwart, racking up 117 appearances across all competitions, but he explained playing for the club feels as special as ever.

He added: "From the moment that I joined Manchester United, I have had a special relationship with the club and our amazing fans.

"I grew up watching this team, dreaming of getting the chance to play here one day. That dream is now a reality and an honour.

"Even after two years, it still feels amazing to step out at Old Trafford, to hear the fans sing my song and to score in front of the Stretford End.

"It is a true privilege to wear this shirt and to fight for our incredible club."

Fernandes ranks first among United players in terms of goals (35), assists (25) and chances created (201) in the Premier League since signing.

United football director John Murtough, who expressed his delight at the contract agreement, feels Fernandes' consistency sets him apart.

"Everyone is well aware of Bruno's importance to Manchester United," said Murtough. "His goals and assists record is phenomenal and he has performed remarkably consistently since he joined the club.

"Bruno's work-rate, dedication and fantastic attitude are exactly what we want from a Manchester United player.

"He is the ultimate professional with many fantastic attributes to drive the high standards required to play for this great club.

"Bruno, like everyone across the football club, remains hugely ambitious and determined to deliver sustained success on the pitch to get us back to challenging for titles."

Bruno Fernandes has signed a new deal with Manchester United to stay at Old Trafford for at least the next four years.

The 27-year-old has more than justified United's initial outlay of £47million (€55m) to sign him from Sporting CP two years ago, even if his form has dipped this campaign.

Fernandes was already tied down until the end of 2024-25, though his new contract – on substantially higher wages – is considered a reward for his performances.

He has signed until June 2026, with the option for another year on top of that.

And while uncertainty remains over the managerial position at Old Trafford, whoever is in charge from next season can build around Fernandes.

Here, Stats Perform looks at just how important Fernandes has been for United over the past two years.


UNITED'S GO-TO GUY

Fernandes' debut for United was nothing to write home about, with the Portugal international unable to inspire his side in a goalless Premier League draw at home to Wolves.

That run-out on February 1, 2020 was the first of 117 United appearances for Fernandes, which is the most of any player during this time, followed by Harry Maguire (105).

Fernandes has also started more games (106) for the Red Devils in the same period and played more minutes (9,470) than anyone else.

Indeed, no player has featured as often as Fernandes in Europe's top five leagues over that timeframe when taking all competitions into account.

CREATOR-IN-CHIEF

Fernandes has scored 49 goals for United and assisted 39, with those 88 direct goal involvements almost double that of next-best Marcus Rashford (46) within the Red Devils ranks.

In fact, the former Sampdoria star is in esteemed company as only five others have scored and assisted more in all competitions among teams from Europe's top five leagues.

He leads the way in that regard among Premier League players, closely followed by Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (86 goal involvements).

The 302 chances created by Fernandes since arriving at United is more than any other player from the elite leagues, with Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (286) next on the list.

SHINING LIGHT IN DISAPPOINTING CAMPAIGN

Fernandes unsurprisingly leads the way among United players for goals (35), assists (25) and chances created (201) in the Premier League in his time at Old Trafford.

That form has helped Fernandes to four Player of the Month awards in the competition, level with Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes, and a tally bettered by only six others.

Each of those awards came in 2020, though, and the Portuguese playmaker's attacking figures this season are down on the past two campaigns.

He is contributing to 0.58 goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League this term, compared to 0.87 last season and 1.13 in his first half-season at Old Trafford.

Yet even in what has been a slightly underwhelming campaign, Fernandes is creating more chances on average (2.96 per game) than any player on United's books to have started a Premier League game this season.

Bruno Fernandes has signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United that will keep the midfielder at Old Trafford until at least 2026.

Portugal international Fernandes has been a transformative figure since arriving at United from Sporting CP in January 2020 for an initial fee of £47million (€55m).

The 27-year-old still had three and a half years to run on his deal, with the option to add a further year, but United have moved to extend those terms.

 

Fernandes has played 117 times for United since making his debut in February 2020, scoring 49 goals and assisting 39 more in all competitions.

The former Sampdoria star's 88 direct goal involvements over that period has been bettered by only five players in Europe's top five leagues.

Indeed, Fernandes ranks first among United players in terms of goals (35), assists (25) and chances created (201) in the Premier League since he arrived.

The new deal is reported to be worth £240,000 a week, which is a significant increase on Fernandes' previous salary.

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho was prominent as Aston Villa went on a recent three-match winning streak in the Premier League.

Despite losses to West Ham and Arsenal coming into the international break, Villa have steadied since the November appointment of head coach Steven Gerrard, who took over from Dean Smith.

Villa are thought to remain interested in turning Coutinho's loan into a permanent arrangement, but another suitor could yet strike a deal, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE LINKED WITH COUTINHO RAID

Newcastle United are said to be ready to swoop for Coutinho if Villa, who have an option to buy, cannot piece together a long-term agreement for the Brazilian winger.

Villa signed Coutinho on loan in January and to take him off Barcelona's hands would reportedly cost around €40million (£33m).

The 29-year-old has immediately become an integral part of Gerrard's attack, providing four goals and three assists in 10 Premier League appearances since arriving.

However, the prospect of a permanent deal is based on Villa accounting for Coutinho's substantial wages, which Barcelona currently subsidise. With new ownership, Newcastle appear capable of finding such funds.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona have tried to exploit sanctions affecting Chelsea by attempting to sign three of the club's defenders in Antonio RudigerCesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, according to The Telegraph.

– RB Leipzig are set to conduct contract talks with Christopher Nkunku, but according to ESPN they are willing to listen to offers in excess of €75million.

Edinson Cavani is set for a move to Boca Juniors when his contract with Manchester United expires at the end of the season, claims Todofichajes.

– Bruno Fernandes has signed a new contract with Manchester United, extending his existing deal by one season but with a substantial wage increase, The Guardian reports.

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed Portugal are in their "rightful place" after Fernando Santos' team secured their place at the 2022 World Cup.

Bruno Fernandes scored both goals in a 2-0 win over North Macedonia in Porto on Tuesday, ensuring Portugal's run of qualifying for every World Cup since the turn of the century continued.

Portugal had to get through two play-off games to reach Qatar after finishing behind Serbia in their qualification group, but it does mean Italy are the only true European footballing heavyweight that will not be featuring in the tournament later this year.

Barring injury, Manchester United forward Ronaldo will be featuring at his fifth World Cup, equalling the record shared by Antonio Carbajal, Rafael Marquez, Lothar Matthaus and Gianluigi Buffon, albeit the latter did not actually play in the 1998 tournament despite making Italy's squad.

"Goal achieved, we are at the Qatar World Cup, we are in our rightful place!" Ronaldo wrote in a post on his official Instagram account shortly after the match.

"Thank you to all the Portuguese for your tireless support! Go Portugal!"

Ronaldo teed up Fernandes' opener in the 32nd minute, with the 37-year-old's club-mate then slotting in from Diogo Jota's cross midway through the second half to all but wrap up the win.

"It doesn't matter at all. It's important to help the team, I'm not here to score goals," Fernandes told reporters when asked about his own performance.

"If I can score, I'd be happy to. That's what I did today. Then it's up to everyone to give their criticism and opinion.

"But I keep my mind on the coach's ideas, and that's probably why I've had this double, for doing what the coach asks of me."

On qualifying, Fernandes added: "It will be in a special place, obviously. The objective has been achieved, which is the most important thing.

"I think Portugal has played better, we've had better performances, but this game made a difference because it qualified us."

Kylian Mbappe is expected to join Real Madrid upon the conclusion of his Paris Saint-Germain contract.

The 2018 World Cup winner has opted not to extend his PSG deal.

Los Blancos have long circled for Mbappe's signature, having come close to signing him in the off-season.

TOP STORY - BARCELONA PLOT SWOOP FOR REAL TARGET MBAPPE

Barcelona are plotting a sensational move to snap up Mbappe ahead of rivals Madrid, reports L'Equipe.

The 23-year-old PSG winger has been heavily linked with a move to Madrid upon the conclusion of his contract at season's end.

However, the report claims Barcelona view him as a more financially shrewd option than Erling Haaland, who could cost them up to €300million.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona have also joined the race to sign Leeds United's Brazil international Raphinha alongside Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, according to the Mirror.

- Barcelona are also interested in Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski, claims SPORT. The same outlet have also linked the Blaugrana with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah , who is yet to extend at Anfield beyond his existing deal, which expires in 2023.

- The Sun claims that Bruno Fernandes will have his salary doubled with a new Manchester United deal in the works. The contract is understood to be a five-year deal.

- Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger has been offered a deal by Juventus, reports Sky Sports.

Renan Lodi sent Atletico Madrid into the Champions League quarter-finals by securing a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday. 

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the last-16 tie three weeks prior, Lodi's first-half header clinched a 2-1 aggregate success for LaLiga's reigning champions. 

Anthony Elanga scored United's goal in Madrid but missed an early chance to convert a pass from Bruno Fernandes, who returned to the line-up following a positive COVID-19 test. 

Atletico sat back and made life difficult for United after Lodi's first Champions League goal, which was enough to send them into the last eight for the second time in three seasons. 

Jan Oblak kept out a point-blank effort from Elanga with his head in the 13th minute, while David de Gea did brilliantly to deny Rodrigo de Paul from 25 yards at the other end. 

Fernandes had a claim for a penalty turned down following a challenge from Reinildo before Joao Felix saw a goal ruled out for offside against Marcos Llorente in the build-up. 

Atletico still went into half-time in front after Lodi headed home Antoine Griezmann's delivery, with United furious that Reinildo was not penalised for a challenge on Elanga moments earlier. 

Elanga guided a decent effort wide 30 seconds after the restart, while Jadon Sancho lashed a volley narrowly over before the hour mark. 

Oblak made another fine stop from a Raphael Varane header that looked destined for the top-left corner with 13 minutes remaining.

It was the closest Ralf Rangnick's side came to keeping their last hope of silverware this season alive, with Atletico holding on to progress.

What does it mean? United again pay for slow start 

It is not a good sign for United if they draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout clash.  They have now been eliminated from the past four ties in which they have been held in the opening encounter, three of which have come against Spanish opposition. 

Furthermore, United have now won just two of their past nine Champions League home games against Spanish opposition. 

Ronaldo goes missing 

United needed their players to step up on the big occasion, but Cristiano Ronaldo was a peripheral figure. He failed to register a single attempt on goal – something he has not experienced in a Champions League game in which he played at least 45 minutes since May 2011 (semi-final second leg against Barcelona with Real Madrid). 

Simeone masterclass 

If there is one thing Atletico know how to do it is defend a lead. Their second half was vintage Diego Simeone as his team kept their first away clean sheet against an English side in the competition. They also avoided conceding at least once in seven straight Champions League games for the first time since 2013. 

What's next? 

Atletico take on Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga on Saturday, while United are not in action until a Premier League meeting with Leicester City at Old Trafford on April 2. 

Bruno Fernandes started against Atletico Madrid on a big Champions League night for Manchester United at Old Trafford. 

The Portuguese playmaker missed Saturday's 3-2 win over Tottenham after a positive COVID-19 test. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning hat-trick to snatch the points in that game, and United boss Ralf Rangnick confirmed the reason for Fernandes being absent afterwards. 

Rangnick said it would be a race against time for Fernandes to be back for duty in Europe; however, the former Sporting CP man was able to train on Monday. 

Fernandes was named in a midfield that also featured Fred, Jadon Sancho and Scott McTominay. The latter returned from an injury that caused him to miss the Spurs game, as Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic dropped to the bench for the visit of Diego Simeone's side. 

Ronaldo and Anthony Elanga, who scored United's goal in Spain to earn a 1-1 draw, led the attack, with Marcus Rashford only a substitute. 

Ronaldo has netted 13 goals in his last 15 home games against Atletico across all competitions, including two hat-tricks in his most recent four – for Real Madrid in May 2017 and Juventus in March 2019, both in this competition. 

Atletico's attack for Tuesday's second leg of the last-16 tie was spearheaded by Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix, with former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez on the bench. 

Bruno Fernandes has tested positive for COVID-19 and could miss Manchester United's crucial Champions League home clash with Atletico Madrid.

The playmaker missed Saturday's 3-2 win over Tottenham at Old Trafford, with his absence put down to an undisclosed illness.

Details have now emerged from interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who said Fernandes faced a race against time to be ready for the last-16 second leg on Tuesday.

Luke Shaw could be back from a coronavirus lay-off, while Rangnick is hopeful midfielder Scott McTominay will be able to feature after a calf problem.

Speaking of Fernandes, Rangnick said: "I don't know. With Scotty, I hope so, but he had some muscular problems with his calf. That's why we decided not to play him [against Tottenham], because Scotty, quite like Fred, is only valuable if he can perform with 100 per cent of his physical capacity.

"Luke hopefully will be back in training Monday and Bruno we will have to wait and see until Tuesday. This will probably be a last-minute race with him – due to COVID."

Fernandes has been United's chief creative force in the Champions League this season, with his six assists putting him four ahead of Shaw, who is second on that list at the club. He has also created a team-high 20 chances in the competition, with Cristiano Ronaldo next with nine.

Ronaldo's hat-trick against Tottenham has raised hopes that he can make a telling difference in Europe, too, with United level at 1-1 with Atletico after the first leg in Spain.

Rangnick said of his 37-year-old superstar striker: "He can be a leader with a performance like that. This is what I have been telling him since I arrived, that with this kind of performance he can be one of the engines of the team.

"We have quite a few other players who can do the same, including Fred, Harry [Maguire], Rapha [Raphael Varane], Victor [Lindelof], whoever. Even Edi [Edinson Cavani], when he came on, the last 10 or 15 minutes showed how important and what kind of role he can still play. I wish him to be available until the end of the season."

Rangnick was pleased with Jadon Sancho against Tottenham, with a notable assist for Ronaldo's second goal reflecting the winger's growing influence.

Sancho arrived with a big reputation from Borussia Dortmund last year and the 21-year-old did not immediately make the expected impact, but he is beginning to catch the eye.

"This is what he should be," said Rangnick, quoted on United's official website. "The club paid quite a few pounds for him in order to lure him away from Borussia Dortmund and if you pay that amount of money in a transfer fee for a player, he should perform on this kind of level.

"At the end, they are all human beings. The mere fact he cost a lot of money does not mean that he is playing at that level to start with.

"He told me that of course it was a problem for him to get adjusted to the intensity of the league, to the physicality of the league. Now he has managed to do that. I'm happy to see him play at that kind of level right now."

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