Bruno Fernandes is "like Cristiano Ronaldo" when it comes to his all-encompassing desire to win, says former Sporting C.P. team-mate Luiz Phellype, with the Manchester United midfielder’s success coming as no surprise.
At 25 years of age, a Portugal international has found the grandest of stages on which to showcase his talent.
During the winter transfer window, United brought a long-running transfer saga to a close when putting a €55 million (£47m/$60m) deal in place for Fernandes.
He has made an immediate impact in English football, becoming a talismanic presence in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with comparisons to illustrious countryman Ronaldo – who previously starred for the Red Devils – never too far away.
Phellype can see why such talk has been generated, with a man who played alongside the talented playmaker in Lisbon telling ESPN Brasil: “He’s by far the best I have ever played with. Outsiders only look at what he does at games, but the people who see him on a daily basis in training understand how good he is.
“Bruno is a guy who works hard and one of the last to leave the club and training. After the activities, he will train free-kicks, penalties and finishing. This reflects on the field.
“I like to spend about 20 minutes improving what I need. I’d go to the locker room, take my shower and get my things, but Bruno was still on the field. He stayed an hour after training every day. He deserves to be reaping everything he planted.
“Bruno is the guy who thinks better and risks a lot. Always passes forward. When he gets it right, an assist or a goal comes. He shoots very well and makes good assists, these are his best characteristics. He manages to set up the moves and then appears in the area to finish them.
“He’s a modern player because he attacks very well and defends very well too. He runs a lot and is intense.
“Sometimes he goes a little too far and screams here and screams there and fights with the referee. But it’s not because he’s a bad character, none of that. He’s very competitive and cannot bear to lose.
“He is calm off the pitch and on the pitch he changes. He’s like Cristiano Ronaldo when he loses, he can’t talk to anyone.”
Quizzed on whether he expected Fernandes to settle so quckly at Old Trafford, Phellype added: “I’m not surprised by his success.
“Some people think that the Portuguese league is weak, which is not true. The physical and tactical level are very high. Who stands out here can stand out in other places.”
Prior to English football being placed into an indefinite state of lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, Fernandes took in five Premier League appearances for United – with two goals and three assists recorded across those outings.