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5 months ago

Bruno Fernandes has made feelings clear on Sir Jim Ratcliffe arrival amid surprise dig at Man Utd captain

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes has made his feelings clear on the arrival of incoming minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe amid surprise criticism of him from the British billionaire.

The Portugal international was made permanent captain of United at the beginning of this season by manager Erik ten Hag, replacing Harry Maguire in the role.

Such was the Dutchman’s belief in his decision that he announced Fernandes as the new captain in front of the dressing room before even discussing the matter with him, according to the midfielder himself.

But the 29-year-old regularly filled the role last season when Maguire was not selected or unavailable – including in the devastating 7-0 thrashing by Liverpool at Anfield in March.

In July, in a newly-released book titled ‘INEOS: Grit, Rigour and Humour’, Ratcliffe contributed its opening chapter to look back on 25 years of the petrochemicals company he founded.

But while the book was largely written in terms of a business perspective, the boyhood United fan still managed to get in a reference to Ten Hag’s side – although it wasn’t perhaps the most appreciative one.

Ratcliffe detailed how he had taken in a rugby match during a trip to the Cook Islands, where he saw a player being carried away in the back of a pickup truck after suffering a broken leg.

He then added: “A far cry from Bruno Fernandes clutching his untouched face in the Liverpool debacle recently.”

While the reference may simply have been a joke at the midfielder’s expense, it may have come as a surprise to some that the line was included.

Speaking after United’s 3-2 Boxing Day win over Aston Villa, meanwhile, Fernandes made clear that, while he appreciates the prospect of the INEOS founder signing new players, it is business as usual for the players amid the announcement of Ratcliffe’s impending arrival as minority owner of the club.

When asked by Amazon Prime whether the players had talked about Ratcliffe or the announcement, he replied: “Not much, honestly, because it’s not going to change anything we do on the pitch. Apart from if they come in and bring some new players that can make a difference for us.

“Apart from that, it has to be us on the pitch and make that difference that we need.

“Obviously social media, newspapers, we see everything, it’s impossible these days not to see it.

“We know what the club is going through at the minute but it’s not going to change anything that we do on the pitch.

“We focus on ourselves and the team and what we control, which is yourself and our performance.”