'Football without fans is like streets without cars'
Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes admits football is simply not the same without fans inside stadiums and has told us he discussed the subject with Cristiano Ronaldo while on international duty.
The pair helped Portugal make an excellent start to their defence of the UEFA Nations League, with convincing wins over Croatia and Sweden.
However, ahead of United's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, which will be played behind closed doors, Fernandes told United Review, the official matchday programme, that he desperately misses having crowds at games.
Although the Reds' vast army of fans worldwide are able to show their support for Bruno and his colleagues on their social media platforms, nothing can compare to having the backing of the club's faithful on a matchday, and they will not be able to cheer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team on in Saturday's opener.
“I think I feel this [support] a lot on social media," our spectacular January signing told United Review. "We have a lot of fans of Manchester United and I can feel all the love they have to give you on social media, on the streets and everywhere really.
“I think, now, the most important thing is for everyone to be healthy and, as soon as possible, everybody will be able to come to the stadium. Football without fans is not like a football game, you know. I sat with Cristiano to talk about it after the game with the national team.
"It’s like streets without cars," he explained.
“It’s not a street.
“I don’t know how to say it but we need to have fans in the stadiums. I don’t know how but I think it will be important for everyone – for the players, for the game, for the fans. It will also be important for them. I hope it’s sooner rather than later when we can have the fans back at the stadium.”
While Bruno's focus is now fully on the new season with United, he was happy to pay tribute to ex-Reds icon Ronaldo's amazing achievement of passing 100 international goals for his country.
The Juventus forward scored both goals in the win over Sweden at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.
When asked about the century landmark, our no.18 laughed, saying: "101! For me, and I think for most of the people now, it’s normal. You see when someone watches the games, if he doesn’t score, for everyone, it is a bad game because, normally, he always scores.
“You wait for a goal from him or for him to do something different. Of course, I’m really happy to have a chance to play alongside him and I hope he can achieve the record he wants, for sure.
“Maybe I can help him to achieve that record with the national team.”