Bruno Fernandes AM8: The Extraordinary Portuguese Magnifico

If we count five players in the English Premier League that do the Panenka Kick excellently, Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United will make that list.

Bruno Miguel Borges Fernandes is a Portuguese professional footballer born September 8, 1994. He plays as an attacking midfielder for Manchester United in the Premier League and the Portugal national team.

He is known for scoring goals, making good passes, converting penalties, and working hard for a team’s success. Learn more about Bruno Fernandes as you read through this article.

Early Life

Fernandes started his professional career with the Italian Serie B team Novara. In 2013, he moved to the Serie A team Udinese, and three years later, he moved to the Serie A team Sampdoria. Fernandes was born in Maia, Porto. He spent five years playing in Italy before signing with Sporting CP in 2017 and got appointed captain the following year.

He was selected for the Primera Liga Team of the Year and awarded the Primera Liga Player of the Year for 2018 and 2019 after winning back-to-back Taças da Liga and the Taça de Portugal. In 2018–19, he scored 33 goals in all competitions. This goal-scoring spree made him the all-time leader in goals scored by a Portuguese midfielder and the all-time goals scored by a European midfielder.

When Fernandes signed for Manchester United in January 2020, he became the second-highest sum ever paid for a Portuguese player leaving the local league, with an initial €55 million (£47 million).

Fernandes has played for the Portuguese national team at the under-19, under-20, under-21, and under-23 levels of international competition. In 2016, he competed for Portugal in the Summer Olympics.

His senior national team debut for Portugal came in 2017. He has since gotten selected to play for Portugal in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Nations League Finals 2019, UEFA Euro 2020, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Portugal won the 2019 competition at home, and he got named to the tournament’s All-Tournament Team.

Where is Bruno Fernandes from?

Bruno Miquel Borges Fernandes was born in Maia in the Porto Metropolitan Area. His mother was a Porto fan, so he grew up around the club. He also supported Manchester United because he admired fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, and Stephen Ireland.

Fernandes grew up playing street football with his older brother, Ricardo, who also went on to a professional football career. His father had moved to Switzerland and hoped that Fernandes would join him there, but Fernandes didn’t because he didn’t like the football there.

Bruno Fernandes

International Career

Fernandes competed in the 2014 Toulon Tournament with the Portugal U-20 national team. He started all four games for Portugal and scored a goal in the third-place match against Chile in the group stage.

Fernandes earned 28 caps for Portugal at the under-19, under-20, under-21, and under-23 levels. Before he played for the national team, coach Rui Jorge put him in charge of the under-21 team.

He helped Portugal’s under-21 team qualify for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with four goals and four assists in qualifying play. In June of 2017, Fernandes competed in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, where he helped Portugal finish in the group stage and scored a goal in the opening match against Serbia.

In 2016, Portugal was represented at the Olympics by Fernandes. As a result of his consistent play, the squad advanced to the quarterfinals.

On March 29, 2022, Fernandes scored both goals as Portugal beat North Macedonia 2-0 in the final of the World Cup qualifying play-offs to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

He was included in Portugal’s final 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA WC in Qatar after being named to the preliminary 55-man team in October. Two of Portugal’s three goals against Ghana on November 25 came courtesy of assists from Fernandes. Three days later, on October 13, Bruno scored two goals in Portugal’s 2-0 victory over Uruguay, sending his country into the knockout round.

On December 6, he assisted Pepe, who became the second-oldest player to score in the competition by scoring Portugal’s second goal in a 6-1 round-of-16 triumph against Switzerland. Due to a 1-0 loss against Morocco in the quarterfinals, Portugal got eliminated from the tournament. Morocco, however, became the first country from the African Cup of Nations to go to the World Cup semifinals.

Club Career

Fernandes’s early career began at the local club Infesta. When Fernandes was younger, the academy at Porto offered him a contract. Still, he signed with Boavista instead since they provided transportation to training, and his parents couldn’t afford to pay for it.

Fernandes spent most of his childhood football career at Boavista. He began as a center-back but was eventually converted to an offensive midfielder after a loan to Pasteleira when he was 15.

Bruno Fernandes in Italy

Bruno Fernandes moved to Novara, Italy, on August 27, 2012. At first, Fernandes had difficulty adjusting to his life in Italy. He was homesick and had trouble learning the language.

But when Fernandes’s fiancee moved to Italy, he quickly learned the language and moved there. He became known as the “Maradona of Novara” and the “Mini Rui Costa” because he played soccer well.

After a short time with the young teams, Fernandes got called to the Serie B first team.

That year, he played in a little over half of the league’s games, and his club finished in fifth place, earning a spot in the promotion play-offs.

Bruno Fernandes

Several Serie A teams were interested in signing Fernandes in the summer of 2013, including Inter Milan and Juventus. But in the end, he chose to sign a co-ownership contract with Udinese because they promised him time on the first team.

On November 3, he played his first game in Serie A. He came on as a second-half replacement in a 0–3 home loss to Inter Milan. He registered his name on the score sheet in the second game between these two teams, which ended in a 1–1 draw. Fernandes got his first league goal in a 3–3 tie at Napoli on December 7, 2013.

On August 16, 2016, Fernandes made a loan transfer to Sampdoria with the option to complete a permanent deal. Twelve days later, on October 15, he made his league debut in a 2-1 home victory over Atalanta, playing six minutes.

On September 26, 2016, Fernandes scored his first goal for his new squad, a 1-2 loss against Cagliari on the road. He made 33 appearances in Serie A this season, scoring five goals, and his team ended up in tenth place.

Sporting CP

Fernandes signed a five-year deal with Sporting CP on June 27, 2017, right after returning from the UEFA European Under-21 Championship. The deal was reportedly worth €8.5 million plus bonuses.

Fernandes debuted on August 6, 2017, against Desportivo das Aves and helped the team to a 2-0 victory on the road.

He has four goals in five games in the Primeira Liga, including two in a 5-0 road win over Vitória de Guimares.

On September 12, Fernandes made his debut UEFA Champions League group stage appearance, and he put the visiting team up 3-0 in the 43rd minute in a 3-2 win at Olympiacos.

After his debut season, he was second only to Bas Dost in goals scored (with 16) and assists, and he got selected to the Primera Liga Team of the Year and the Primera Liga Player of the Year.

After finishing third in the league and missing out on the Champions League, more than 50 Sporting fans attacked the team’s training field on May 15, 2018, hurting Fernandes and many of his teammates and coaches.

On July 6, Fernandes was honored as the best player in Portugal’s top league. After club president Bruno de Carvalho resigned, he reversed his intention to leave the Estádio José Alvalade four days later, signing a new five-year deal with a €100 million release clause. He also got a pay raise. Irrespective of that, the team decided to play against Desportivo das Aves in the final of the Taca de Portugal the following weekend.

Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United’s career

Technical abilities and style of play

As an attacking midfielder for Manchester United, Fernandes is a dynamic, high-energy, box-to-box playmaker who can both take on defenders and establish the game’s tempo. This forthright nature of Fernandes leads him to take several chances with the quality and difficulty of the passes he attempts.

The midfielder Fernandes has an impressive goal-scoring record. He is a reliable free-kick and penalty-kick taker who likes to strike long-range. But even though he often loses the ball, he usually presses the other team as soon as he does.

His ability to move without the ball is also essential, as he often drops deep to pick up the ball or moves around the attacking third. Even though his primary role is as an attacking midfielder, he can also play in a deeper center-midfield position or as a second striker.

Life outside football

Fernandes traveled to Italy at 18 to join Novara, where he met his childhood girlfriend Ana Pinho, whom he married in 2015. They both have two children named Matilde and Gonçalo.

Fernandes speaks Spanish, English, and Italian in addition to his native Portuguese. He can also communicate fluently in French.

Honors and Awards

Bruno Fernandes’s football career got marked by several honors and awards that he has won at different times:

  1. At Sporting CP, Fernandes won the Taça de Portugal in 2018–19 and the Taça da Liga in 2017–18 and 2018–19, respectively.
  2. He won the UEFA Nations League with the Portuguese National Team in 2018–19.
  3. Fernandes won the 2022–23 EFL Cup while playing for Manchester United. He was part of the Manchester United squad that finished runners-up in the 2020–21 UEFA Europa League.
Bruno Fernandes

Below are a few of his achievements:

  1. He won the SJPF Young Player of the Month award five consecutive times: August 2017, September 2017, October/November 2017, February 2018, and April 2018.
  2. Bruno won the Primeira Liga Goal of the Month in August and September 2017.
  3. He has been declared the Premier League midfielder of the month on nine occasions: August 2017, October/November 2018, December 2018, and six months in 2019 which includes January, February, March, April, August, and September.
  4. Fernandes was named Premier League Player of the Month seven times.
  5. Two-time Premier League, Player of the Year
  6. Primeira Liga Teams of the Year: 2017–18 and 2018–19, respectively.
  7. Bruno was CNID Footballer of the Year in 2019.
  8. He has won PFA Fans’ Premier League Player of the Month for February 2020 and June/July 2020.
  9. Bruno has also been named Premier League Player of the Month: February 2020 [51] June 2020,[53] November 2020,[59] December 2020[158]
  10. He also won Premier League Goal of the Month for June 2020 and February 2021.
  11. Bruno Fernandes was the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League top scorer with eight goals.
  12. His goal in the game between Manchester United and Everton on February 6, 2021, was named the Manchester United Goal of the Season for 2020/21.
  13. In 2020, Bruno bagged the FSA Men’s Player of the Year Award.

Fun Facts About Bruno Fernandez

  • In his early career, Bruno Fernandes played central defense.
  • As a young boy, Bruno Fernandes got called “Cebolinha,” which means “little onion” in Portuguese. This description came about because he was short and skinny. Some people still call him “Cebolinha” today, a name he had as a child and has become legendary among football fans.
  • Fernandes is well known for his philanthropic work, having participated in various initiatives to improve the lives of underprivileged children in Portugal.
  • At one point, an upset Fernandes tore up his contract with Sporting.

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