- Ronaldo left United in November
- Struggled to form partnership with Fernandes
- Ferdinand believes pair didn't 'connect'
WHAT HAPPENED? Ronaldo left the Red Devils in November by mutual consent following an explosive interview in which he criticised the club and manager Erik ten Hag. Ronaldo misfired in his final months at United and his partnership with Fernandes looked fractured as the two players seemed to be on different wavelengths. However, since the departure of the Portuguese striker, Fernandes has rediscovered his best form and scored his fourth goal in his last seven appearances on Saturday when he converted from the spot against Crystal Palace. This has led former United defender Ferdinand to insist that the midfielder needs to be the main man in order to thrive, which was not possible alongside Ronaldo.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel: "There are some players where their game just does not connect and I think Cristiano and Bruno... Bruno was just better when he was not there or not in the team. I think that might be because Bruno needs to be the guy that the game goes through, and I think the problem with Cristiano Ronaldo is because of his reputation and how good he is, people feel that they need to find him. I have played in teams where you have got a great No.9 and your first look is the No.9.
"When they are that good, you do look beyond everybody else and I had like [Paul] Scholesy and [Michael] Carrick in front of me. Sometimes I looked past them first. But Bruno wants the first look and says, 'Give me the first look, as I want to be the guy who plays the ball to define the game'. If he wasn't getting that first look, maybe he became a bit disinterested, I don't know, and it didn't suit him. You are seeing the best of him now because the game seems to be going through him more often than not at Man United."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Fernandes has been a vital cog in Erik ten Hag's system with the midfielder flourishing in a number of different roles for the Red Devils this season. He has also been handed the captain's armband with Harry Maguire reduced to a bench role, which shows his growing importance in the team.
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty ImagesGetty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR FERNANDES & RONALDO? The midfielder will be back in action when Manchester United host Leeds at Old Trafford on Wednesday in the Premier League. Ronaldo, meanwhile will hope to get on the scoresheet again when Al-Nassr make the trip to Al-Wehda a day later for a Saudi Pro League fixture.