Ronaldo's return made Fernandes 'feel inferior' at Man Utd as Neville claims midfielder now 'looks half the player'

Bruno Fernandes Cristiano RonaldoGetty

Gary Neville says Bruno Fernandes looks like "half the player" he once was at Manchester United because of the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fernandes finished the season as United's second-top scorer with 10 goals in the Premier League - eight fewer than Ronaldo.

That tally is a significant drop from the 18 he scored in the English top-flight in 2020-21, while his haul of six assists is half of the figure he reached in that season, too.

What has Neville said about Cristiano Ronaldo's impact at Man Utd?

Neville says that Fernandes is not the only player who has been affected by Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford last summer, with it his belief that captain Harry Maguire and striker Edinson Cavani also suffered.

"I think at the start of the season, he created a problem straight away with Cavani," Neville said on Sky Sports' The Overlap.

"[Cavani was] being pleaded to stay and lead the attack for the year, but when they signed Ronaldo, Cavani was shot then and finished. It upset the dynamic in the dressing room for Bruno.

"I think Bruno looks up to him like a godfather in Portugal so it made him feel a bit inferior to what he was before. It made Maguire a little bit inferior as captain just naturally – nothing from Ronaldo’s doing this.

"Just his presence itself on the pitch means everyone’s looking to Cristiano with Harry trying to establish himself as United captain.

"I don’t know where the cliques are, I’m not close enough to it but you mention words like ‘rotten’ ‘broken’.

"Harry Maguire has gone from someone who I think was growing on the pitch last year in Covid to someone who looks like he’s shot to pieces when he pulls on a red shirt.

"Bruno looks like half the player.

"The rest of them, the young players, it looks like you’ve lost complete faith in them, let’s get rid of them.

"That’s when something has gone fundamentally wrong in the changing room, in the leadership, and I don’t think you can absolve anyone of blame. Everyone has to take blame for that."

Will Ronaldo stay at Man Utd?

Ronaldo has a year left on his contract at Old Trafford, but there have been questions about his future at the club as Erik ten Hag takes over as coach.

Asked on the podcast what he thinks will happen, ex-United full-back Neville said: "I think he's staying."

Ten Hag himself has suggested that will be the case in his first press conference as United boss.

The Dutch coach was asked if the 37-year-old will be able to adapt to his playing style, to which he replied bluntly: "Yes".

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