Bruno Fernandes joins exalted company
The extraordinary goalscoring exploits of Bruno Fernandes continue to astound.
Our no.18 notched twice in the win over Istanbul Basaksehir, taking his tally for the Reds to 21 goals from 35 games.
As you might have heard on commentary during Tuesday’s game, or seen on social media, the 26-year-old has reached the 20-goal landmark quicker than any midfielder in United’s history.
In fact, according to Sky Sports, only three players this century have racked up this amount of goals in a shorter space of time – and each one of them is a gold-standard striker, born with the primal instinct to hit the back of the net.
Ruud van Nistelrooy leads the way, with the Dutchman requiring just 25 appearances for United to hit 20 goals in all competitions.
📊 Fewest apps to reach 20 goals for Man Utd (all comps) this century:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 24, 2020
2️⃣5️⃣ Ruud van Nistelrooy
2️⃣6️⃣ Robin van Persie
3️⃣3️⃣ Zlatan Ibrahimovic
3️⃣5️⃣ BRUNO FERNANDES#UCL #MUFC pic.twitter.com/UycrRDjE4Q
The former PSV man made it on to the scoresheet on his Reds debut, and barely stopped bothering goalkeepers after that, with three braces and a hat-trick helping him to reach the mark less than six months after signing.
Ruud’s compatriot Robin van Persie was quick out of the blocks too, needing just 26 games to find the back of the net 20 times, while another Red who registered in his first appearance for the club, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is next up – he took 33 games.
In the 20th century, the likes of Bobby Charlton (30 games) and Brian McClair (36) posted competitive numbers – both, like Bruno, would go on to ply their trade in United’s midfield, but started their Reds careers as forwards.
According to our research, Fernandes also figures in the all-time top 10 when it comes to United strike-rates.
Only seven players, of those who have scored more than 20 times for United, have averaged more goals per game – and all of them are forwards.
Leading the way is Charles Sagar, who hit 20 in 23 in the 1905/06 season, including a hat-trick on debut.
BEST STRIKE RATES FOR UNITED PLAYERS (MINIMUM 20 GOALS)
|Player||Years active||Apps (goals)||Strike rate|
|Charles Sagar||1905-07||33 (24)||0.727|
|Tommy Taylor||1952-58||191 (131)||0.686|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||2001-06||219 (150)||0.685|
|Thomas Reid||1928-33||101 (67)||0.663|
|Ronald Burke||1946-49||35 (23)||0.657|
|Jack Allan||1904-07||36 (22)||0.611|
|Dennis Viollet||1952-62||293 (179)||0.611|
|Bruno Fernandes||2020-||35 (21)||0.600|
|Denis Law||1962-73||404 (237)||0.587|
|Alex Dawson||1956-62||93 (54)||0.581|
Busby Babe Tommy Taylor is second, while van Nistelrooy ranks third in the list.
As you can see, Fernandes currently sits one place above Denis Law, who notched an incredible 237 goals in 404 matches during his spell at Old Trafford – so how does the man himself explain his incredible statistics?
“Penalties help! Everyone will say that, for sure!” Bruno enthused, after Tuesday’s game.
“My team-mates have helped me a lot. It was really important the way everyone helped me in the first days and games, so I’m really happy.
“Everything I’m doing on the pitch is with the help of my team-mates, the staff and everyone.
“It’s important for me but the most important thing is helping the team and I think I can help a little bit more.”