Bruno Fernandes Hints a Stance on Man United Penalty Debate
Cristiano Ronaldo staked his claim to take over Manchester United penalty duties after he scored twice from the spot during Portugal’s win over Luxembourg
When Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take Manchester United’s ’s last-minute penalty against Aston Villa last month, the calmness he had so often displayed eluded him.
Gone was the hop, skip and jump that had so often been followed by the ball rolling past a helpless keeper.
Instead, it was a full backswing which saw the ball fly over the crossbar and into the astonished faces in the Stretford End.
The miss instantly intensified a debate which had been bubbling ever since Ronaldo completed his remarkable return to Old Trafford.
Fernandes had established himself as one of the top penalty takers in world football. However, the question is would he still be able to demand the ball with one of the greatest players in football history wearing the same shirt?
The answer was yes, but whether that remains following the Villa miss remains to be seen.
Fernandes insisted he was still on spot-kick duty in the two subsequent games before the international break, but back with Portugal, there wasn’t even a question over who would take it.
After scoring the first, Ronaldo would be handed another chance just minutes later, scoring again. He was even forced to retake his second, but of course he made no mistake on the way to his 58th hat-trick in senior football.
And speaking after the game, Fernandes spoke about his compatriot’s unrelenting ability to find the net, suggesting if he was to be given the nod for United, he wouldn’t fail.
“say what you want. Easy goals, not easy goals. There are no easy goals,” Fernandes said. “You have to be there, you have to feel it, you have to have the feeling of the goal. He’s in the right place and scores it”.
“Even being in the right place, it’s hard to score. There are those who fail, he doesn’t fail.”
“He (Ronaldo) once said something very interesting,” Fernandes said of his international and club team-mate. He said it’s not he who follows the records, it’s the records that follow him”.
“And I’m starting to think it’s true. Because his ability to score goals is impressive, his ability to be in the right place is impressive.”
Despite all of his individual accolades since signing in 2020, Fernandes is well aware that after two wins in six games, it’s a case of team first.
If and when they are next awarded a penalty, it will be fascinating to see whether he can resist the temptation to allow a player that simply “doesn’t fail” to be nothing more than a spectator.