Bruno Fernandes believes Cristiano Ronaldo is at his best when faced with criticism and hopes his acrimonious departure from Manchester United will cheer him on at the World Cup.
Ronaldo’s amicable departure from Old Trafford was confirmed on Tuesday after the turmoil caused by his interview with Piers Morgan and he left as a free agent for Portugal’s World Cup opener on Thursday night.
He conquered center stage as only Ronaldo can, winning a penalty before rising to take it himself and becoming the first player to score in five World Cups.
Andre Ayew equalized for Ghana but quick goals from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao helped Portugal start the Qatar season with a 3-2 win.
For many players, attending such an important tournament with criticism in their ears after a messy divorce from their club could destroy them, but Fernandes believes the opposite is true for Ronaldo.
“I think he likes to work under that criticism from everyone so I pray you all to keep doing that because he brings out the best in himself when you do that,” Fernandes said.
“I still share the national team place with him and the most important thing for me is that Portugal do our best in the tournament because if we do it, Cristiano will be happy, I will be happy and everyone in Portugal will be happy for us.”
Manchester City playmaker Bernardo Silva has no idea where Ronaldo’s club career will take him next, but agreed when asked if the veteran was capable of playing in one of Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues stay.
“Yes, I think so. But it depends on what he wants. I don’t know what he wants for his life. He has to talk to his family and decide for himself, right?
“I support his decision [to leave United] regarding, it’s his decision. He’s my team-mate in Portugal – if he’s happy, we’re happy.
“We’re happy to know we can still count on him – not just for the goal, but he’s done a lot of work for the team.”