Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has revealed that Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta is the player he has most modelled his own game on, which is perhaps why the club’s newest star is fast on his way to an elite level.
Fernandes has previously cited international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo as a major influence, not least because his admiration for United began as a child when Ronaldo moved to Old Trafford in 2003. But Iniesta has had a more direct influence when it comes to actually playing.
Fernandes’ arrival breathed new life into a United side that had lost its way midway through the 2019/20 season. His positive approach and determinedness to always look forward when in possession is something he appears to have learned from watching Iniesta.
“The one I liked to watch and follow was Iniesta, because Iniesta is a mix between an eight and a ten,” Fernandes revealed in an interview with ManUtd.com.
“It is a way I can do better, between eight and ten,” he added. “It is the guy who always likes to have the ball, take the risks, and I think Iniesta was one of the best in the world.
“For me, it was impressive how Iniesta finished his career without the Ballon d’Or [award]. With everything he won, it is difficult for me to understand!”
Fernandes’ goal and assist record with former club Sporting CP was the talk of Europe prior to his January switch to England, managing 79 for the Lisbon side in just 18 months from the start of 2018/19. Eyebrows were raised as to whether he could have the same kind of impact at a higher level, but the 25-year-old made seven goal contributions in his first nine United games.
Quality is one thing, but Bruno also has the right mentality that has allowed him to join a new club in a brand new country and still thrive.
United fans will love the fact that given one word to describes himself, he chose for ‘warrior’. That extra drive is what makes good players into great ones.
“Warrior, because for me every game is a battle,” he said.
“You need to go out to the game and just understand you need to beat your opponent. With all of the respect, because you need to have respect for your opponent, but you need to beat them. If you don’t beat them, they will beat you.
“It doesn’t matter who is on the other team. If it is a friend, because I have friends playing in the Premier League, I don’t care. At that moment I will be the biggest enemy they can have.”