Cristiano Ronaldo dedicated himself to training during his glittering Manchester United spell – and it seems Bruno Fernandes is keen to emulate his Portuguese team-mate.
Saturday marks the first anniversary of the Fernandes’ arrival at Old Trafford, where he has comfortably surpassed expectations since joining from Sporting in his homeland.
Nobody has scored more for a Premier League club than Fernandes since his debut, netting 28 goals in all competitions and providing the assist for 17 more.
The 26-year-old’s form shows few signs of slowing down for the title-chasing Red Devils – but his attitude in training suggests he is desperate to improve.
And, according to third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant, Fernandes regularly stays late in training to practice his penalty taking alongside Juan Mata.
Grant told The Athletic : “Usually, I’m already forming an opinion about where the penalty-taker is going to put the ball after the first or second step of their run-up.
“I’m looking at their body shape, the angle they are coming in, and that’s when I make my decision.
“With Bruno, though, it’s almost impossible to read his body language. His penalty technique is really like no other. I’m never going to save a penalty if I stick to my usual routine.”
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“I have to be honest: as much as I don’t really want to admit this, they had us on toast.
“I think I saved one penalty out of 25 from Bruno. Juan was dinking the ball down the middle, sticking it in the top corner.
“Bruno was rolling it in the corner with that smile on his face. I told him afterwards how difficult it was to read what he was going to do. It made him laugh.”
Indeed, Fernandes attitude has similarities to that of Ronaldo, who dedicated himself to training during his time with the Premier League giants.
Dimitar Berbatov, his former United team-mate, once revealed: “I’ve been a lucky guy to share a season with him, every training session with him was like a war, but I didn’t think anything was bad about wanting to win everything.
“He was a good kid, he was fun and affectionate, but even at the Christmas parties he was very professional, I never saw him drink even at those events.
“He took extreme care of himself; he came to training early and was in the gym, and then he would stay late to practice his shooting on goal.
“Then he would finish by going swimming before being back at the gym. He was determined to be the best.”