Exclusive: Our first Bruno Fernandes interview
"It’s an honour for me to represent this club and a dream come true," says Bruno in his first interview as a Red...
Welcome to Manchester United. How does it feel to have signed for the club? “I feel very well and I’m very happy to be here. It’s an honour for me to represent this club and a dream come true.” Was it always a dream of yours to play in the Premier League? “Yes it was my dream to play in the Premier League and fortunately for me my dream is also to play for Manchester United.” You join a young squad – you’re on 25 yourself - how excited are you to grow with this young team and hopefully achieve something special with them? “I’m really excited. I want to help everyone and learn from the experienced players.” You met Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the first time – how was that meeting? “It was a good meeting. He has a past in this club and I’m really happy to be training for him now.” Manchester United fans are really excited that you’ve signed and are eager to see you play. How much are you looking forward to playing in front of them? “I’m really excited. I want to play and be able to play as soon as possible and to give the best I can.” How would you describe your style of play to a United fan who maybe hasn’t seen you play? I’ve heard some coaches compare you to Rui Costa… “There is a big difference with Costa, he had a really great career. I want to be better, it’s difficult but it’s my dream to be better every day and I hope Manchester United fans can enjoy my game.” It’s a big move for you and also your family – how excited are they? “They are excited for me. They know this is a dream and they share my dreams. I hope they will be really happy.” How much have you seen of English football and what are your memories of the Premier League growing up as a kid? “I saw many games in Portugal because they show the games there and I follow more Manchester United when Cristiano [Ronaldo] was here. He’s a big player and I see him as an idol and I want to be in the form like Cristiano showed.” Of course that link with Cristiano will be made – do you remember his transfer to Manchester United and how excited everybody was for that? “Yeah I remember. Sporting had a friendly match against Manchester [United] and he played really well like he does always and of course the fans were excited about him. Now I want to write my history, different to Cristiano because he is the best player in the world. He has played 15 years at the top and it’s difficult to do this, but I want to give my best to write my name in the history of Manchester United.” Has Cristiano ever spoken to you about Manchester United? “Yes I talked about Manchester United with Cristiano because in the summer I had the possibility to come to Manchester United. 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 and I also talked with Ole and he said he asked Cristiano about me 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.” Of course, in recent years you also played alongside Nani when he returned to Sporting. Was it a great experience to play alongside another Portuguese legend? “Of course. I have had the opportunity to play with big players who do big things in the Premier League and other championships and I’m very happy to learn from them, and Nani is no exception. I played with him, he was my captain at Sporting and I learnt some things from him. He sent me a message the other day and said he was very happy for me with my move.” Your international team-mate Bernardo Silva is another resident of Manchester. Have you been in touch since this transfer has gone through? “Yes he texted me on Wednesday and said I was lucky I didn’t play against him! [Smiles] I told him the luck was with him because if I’d played against him I will punish him!” What do you think are the differences between the Premier League and Portugal’s Primeira Liga, and Italy’s Serie A where you’ve also played, of course? “It’s different. In Portugal you see for the most part with players it’s about talent, they bring them up through the Academy and they show their talent and they move to other countries who have big clubs – it’s a big move you’re waiting for when you play in Portugal. In Italy I learnt a lot because the coach there was focused on tactics and you learn so much. I think when you play in Serie A you are ready to play everywhere.” Just before your 18th birthday you took the bold move of moving to Italy. How much did that experience develop you as a person? “A lot because it made me grow up faster and I had to do it alone. I had the support of my family of course and of my wife. Every time she could be she was there to support me, my family also, and I grew up as a person in Italy too. I lived alone and you have to start to know how to do things like a big man and for me it was really important to go to Italy.” You returned to Portugal in 2017 with Sporting and we’ve seen you hit amazing heights over the last two years or so with goals and assists. What do you put that down to and what has been the catalyst behind you becoming one of the top midfielders in Europe? “When you move to a big club like Sporting you need to give your best and give more, and you need to work more so your stats will get better. Of course playing at a big club you have big players in your side and everything is easier. I think the work I did at Sporting was really good, I had coaches who helped me a lot and also the players I played with they supported me a lot in the good and bad moments. For me they are one of the reasons I am here today.” It’s not just the goals, it’s the assists as well - do you get as much of a thrill from an assist as you do a goal? “I think it’s the same. You’re happy when you win and if your team score you are closer to a win. So I think it’s the same. Of course every player wants to score, it’s the most important part of the game, scoring goals and winning games. For me it’s really the same, assist or goal, I don’t choose. If I can do one of them or both it’s good, the most important thing is the team winning.” How much are you looking forward to running out at Old Trafford for the first time in front of our amazing fans? “This is the dream. The dream is coming to Old Trafford and having the possibility to play in front of our fans. I’m really excited to have this possibility.” Whether the game at the weekend comes too soon for you we’ll have to see, but it is Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday who have a strong Portugal influence including Joao Moutinho who I heard was one of your idols growing up… “Yes he’s one of the players I follow because I like his style of play. Since I was a kid he was one of the players in Portugal who was one of the most important there. I followed him like I followed other idols, when you’re a kid you need to look to everyone to be better and like them. If you pick up a little of Joao and a little bit of Cristiano and a little bit of Nani and other players you can be better.” For you personally, what are your ambitions in the game and what do you hope to achieve? “Winning. I just want to win. I live to win and I want to win every single game.” Finally, what is your message to United fans? “My message is I am here to help and I hope we can celebrate a lot together.”