No need for Cristiano Ronaldo 'soap opera', says Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has defended Cristiano Ronaldo and believes there is "no need" for a "soap opera" around his Manchester United and Portugal team-mate following a 1-0 loss to Spain.

After an impressive 4-0 win against the Czech Republic put Portugal in pole position in Nations League Group A2, they were beaten by La Roja and missed out on a place in the Finals.

Ronaldo failed to score in a third consecutive game at international level, seeing two attempts saved by Unai Simon, and appeared extremely disappointed and frustrated at full-time.

But Fernandes came to his colleague's defence, saying: "There is no need to make great stories. Cristiano is here, he is here to help, and he will continue to help.

"Cristiano is a forward; he wants to score goals. Frustration is normal, but there was no one more frustrated than anyone else.

"We were all very frustrated – there is no need to make a soap opera around Cristiano."

Ronaldo has just one goal and one assist for club and country this season, but Fernandes added: "He has done what he has to do; the goals will appear.

"This is a phase. When the goals start to appear, he will have more capacity and tranquillity to continue scoring many goals for our national team. We cannot forget that he is the best scorer ever."

After two disappointing international tournaments, not progressing past the last 16 at either the 2018 World Cup or Euro 2020, Qatar provides an opportunity for Portugal to set things right.

"[The Nations League] doesn't get in the way," Fernandes said. "The World Cup is a completely different competition.

"We knew what we had to do in this competition; unfortunately, we couldn't go all the way.

"The World Cup will soon be seen, so we have to focus, be at the best level in the clubs to represent the national team."