How Ronaldo and Nani advised Bruno on United
“Once a Red, always a Red,” is a popular phrase in the parlance of Manchester United players and it was especially pertinent last week, when the transfer of Bruno Fernandes was completed.
The two ex-Reds also completed that route from Sporting to Old Trafford and, as Bruno revealed in his big interview upon signing, our former forwards had both reviewed the club in glowing terms to him.
Now a legend of the sport, it is fitting that Ronaldo was the first to make that move from Lisbon in 2003 and, almost 17 years later (a timeframe that is hard to believe), he reflects positively on a life-changing, career-shaping experience.
“Yes, I talked about Manchester United with Cristiano,” Bruno admitted to us.
“He just said good things about United. He said he started living his dream here and he started being a really good player here. I think he is happy with my transfer.”
As a United fan, there is something quite heart-warming about Ronaldo recommending the club to a younger protégé.
It was equally fascinating to learn from Bruno that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had spoken to Cristiano, who he shared the pitch with for four seasons and later trained in a brief stint as our strikers’ coach.
“I also talked with Ole and he said he asked Cristiano about me,” said Fernandes. “And he said good things about me, which is good!
“Cristiano plays with me in the national team and he knows me, and for me he’s a good person. I want to follow his steps.”
Nani, who was previously Bruno’s Sporting captain and senior Portugal team-mate, had also been in contact to provide a glowing reference of United, where he proudly won 12 trophies as a Red.
“I played with him, he was my captain at Sporting and I learnt some things from him,” said Fernandes. “He sent me a message the other day and said he was very happy for me with my move.”
Once the much-rumoured Fernandes transfer was signed, sealed and delivered, Nani took time out of his training schedule with MLS club Orlando City to record a personal message for his friend and all Reds supporters.
“I ask you guys to give him your good support, have a little bit of passion for his adaptation, for sure he will prove his quality and score beautiful goals,” said the ex-Red of 230 appearances and 40 goals.
“I am missing you guys, the great moments we had and the good times. I can see Man United coming back to play the football we love and win our titles, because once you are a Red Devil you are a Red Devil forever. See you soon guys.”
Nani went out of his way to send that recorded message directly to us and, while that is a small gesture, it is representative of his role in the United family.
Perhaps Bruno will play a similar one for a young Portuguese in the future.
After all, "once a Red, always a Red".
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