Bruno Fernandes happy to share free-kick duties

Thursday 17 June 2021 15:14

Bruno Fernandes has said he is happy to let Portugal's other stars take free-kicks and other set-pieces, when it suits the team.

The United talisman is first-choice for his club when it comes to free-kick opportunities in the final third, but often sees the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo take his national team's dead balls.
 
But ahead of Portugal's much-anticipated meeting with Germany in what has been dubbed Euro 2020's 'Group of Death', Bruno admitted he couldn't care less about set-piece ownership – as long as his country triumph.
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“I already did take one [free-kick],” the playmaker told the media. “I’m already doing it, but it’s not necessarily my focus here. 
 
“We have many players who can take them in their clubs and here. It’s not important who takes it.
 
“The only important thing here is to help the team whatever way I can do that and, if I can help them with the goals inside or outside of the penalty box, I will be happy. Our goal is to help the national team to win and I’m no exception.”
The European Championship holders kicked off their bid to retain the trophy by beating Hungary 3-0 in Budapest, with Ronaldo grabbing the headlines with two late goals that make him the leading scorer in the competition's history.
 
A Selecao had to wait until the 84th minute to get their noses in front, through a deflected Raphael Guerreiro effort, but soon found their extra gears after that breakthrough.
 
But while Fernandes is keen to praise the former United no.7, he believes Portugal's collective unity is the team's most precious asset; an asset that was embodied by their third goal of the game.

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“It was down to the training and the skill of the players, and it was a demonstration of what we can do,” said Bruno, of the intricate move which led to Ronaldo's second. 
 
“We are happy to have won and even better for having scored such a collective goal. It proves that this is what really matters.
 
“Ronaldo is influential, as always. He is another one who wants to do his best and is making a difference. The most valuable player in the national team is the 'we'. The 'we' is the most important, there are many Is, but the 'us' is what counts.”
Their next opponents, Germany, were beaten 1-0 by France in their opening match, at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.
 
But Joachim Low's side are still fierce opponents, and Fernandes knows a result is vital if Portugal aren't to be left needing a result against France in their final group-stage fixture.
 
“Our aim is to win every game. Now it's Germany and we're going to prepare the game to win it,” said the reigning Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year.
 
“Every game is different, the opponents are different, but our focus is collective. We know what we can do to correct what was less good [against Hungary] in trying to defeat Germany, who we know to be strong opponents. The pressure we have is to play for our country, nothing more.”

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