'Give him some space' - Fernandes in the dark over Ronaldo's Man Utd future

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Bruno Fernandes claims to be in the dark regarding Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United future, as he hit out at criticism of his own performances last season.

Ronaldo has reportedly asked to leave Old Trafford less than a year after returning from Juventus, with United having stumbled to a sixth-placed Premier League finish last term.

The 37-year-old has scored 140 Champions League goals, 15 more than his closest rival Lionel Messi, and his desire to feature in European football's premier club competition has been reported as an important motivation behind his desire to leave.

Ronaldo has yet to train with Erik ten Hag's team ahead of the new season, missing the club's tour of Asia and Australia due to family reasons.

While United remain steadfast in their desire to keep the forward, Fernandes says any decision made by Ronaldo must be respected, but claims to know nothing of his compatriot's intentions.

"I don't know, obviously Cristiano was our top scorer last season, he added goals to us, but obviously it's not on me, it's the club that has to make the choices and Cristiano makes his own choice," Fernandes said, in comments reported by the Athletic.

"I don't know what's going on in his head, if he wants to leave, it's all news. I didn't ask him that.

"The only thing I asked Cristiano, when he didn't turn up [for pre-season training], was if everything was okay with the family. He told me what was going on, that's it and nothing more.

"We have to respect the decision of everyone. I don't know what Cristiano said to the club, to the manager, I don't know what is going on in his head, but we have to respect his space.

"From everything we know, he had some family problems, so we have to give him some space and that's it."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 18 Premier League goals for Manchester United last season
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 18 Premier League goals for Manchester United last season

Ronaldo top-scored with 24 goals in all competitions for United last term, and was the only player to register more strikes than Fernandes (10), who also topped the club's assist charts with 13.

Yet the creative midfielder attracted criticism for a perceived lack of discipline on and off the ball, an assessment he rejects after caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick struggled to implement a high-pressing style.

"I don't understand that type of question of keeping the ball or whatever it is," Fernandes said.

"I keep the ball when I think I have to keep it, I try a pass when I think I have to do it. Sometimes it goes good, sometimes wrong.

"Obviously when it goes wrong, I know that shouldn't be the one, but sometimes when you play in the number 10 position you have only a few seconds to think and control the ball and make the pass.

"I understand of course that someone has his own opinion, but when I arrived in 2020, I was losing the same amount of balls in those six months, and then the year after I lost the same amount of balls, but I scored 28 goals so people don't complain about that.

"Last season, because I scored 'only' 10, people start complaining, but I'm okay with that, I don't worry.

"I know I always give my best, I always try to help my team-mates. They know that even when I miss the passes, I'm trying to give something to them, so I'm okay with that.

"Obviously I will have to do what the coach demands from me, and what he demands from me I will do."

United have won on all three of their pre-season outings under Ten Hag to date, and will begin their first Premier League campaign under the Dutchman at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

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