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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Online editors

‘I don't have to pick a side’ - Bruno Fernandes says Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man Utd exit will not derail Portugal

Portugal's Bruno Fernandes during the press conference. Photo: Reuters

Bruno Fernandes insists Portugal are "focused 100pc" on the World Cup despite the distraction of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Manchester United.

Ronaldo said it felt like "the right time for a new challenge" after his contract with the Premier League side was terminated.

The 37-year-old's position at Old Trafford looked untenable after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised manager Erik ten Hag and club officials.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Thursday's game against Ghana, Fernandes said: "We are all focused 100pc on the national team and the World Cup. We are all aware of what we have to do.

"We are in a championship that is the dream of every player and a competition where every player wants to play."

Asked if he would feel uncomfortable with his former Manchester United team-mate, Fernandes added: "I don't feel uncomfortable, I don't have to pick a side.

"Cristiano has always been an inspiration for me, so it was a dream come true to be able to play with him, but we know nothing ever lasts forever.

"It was good while it lasted. We have to respect his decision, whether we agree or not."

Portugal manager Fernando Santos insisted the subject of Ronaldo's move had not been raised among the group, adding: "This is something that has not been discussed when we have all been together.

"The conversation has not come up at any moment, not even from him [Ronaldo[."

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