The Manchester United talisman played a starring role as Portugal beat Azerbaijan in Baku in Bruno Fernandes’ final game before linking up with Cristiano Ronaldo back at Carrington
Bruno Fernandes inspired Portugal to a comfortable victory over Azerbaijan in Baku on Tuesday night.
Ronaldo was ruled out of the 3-0 victory after picking up a booking in the dramatic 2-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland last week.
The 36-year-old was cautioned for removing his shirt after breaking the scoring record in men’s international football.
And without Ronaldo, it was up to Fernandes to drive Portugal forward in a potentially tricky World Cup qualifier.
Fernandes set up the first for Bernardo Silva before playing a key role in the second goal scored by Andre Silva.
The win leaves Portugal at the top of Group A, two points clear of Serbia and seven ahead of Luxembourg in third.
During the game at the national stadium, Fernandes was mobbed by fans, desperate for a selfie with the Manchester United star.
A group of supporters surrounded the midfielder, taking a picture with him, whether he liked it or not.
Following the win in Azerbaijan, Fernandes will return to Carrington where he will train alongside his compatriot Ronaldo.
On Tuesday, he completed his first session back as a United player after completing his five-day period of isolation.
Ronaldo was pictured meeting up with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before joining his new teammates in training.
It means there is now a strong possibility that the forward will be able to make his debut this weekend when the Red Devils take on Newcastle at Old Trafford.
There is of course, the raging debate over whether Fernandes will retain penalty taking duties or allow Ronaldo to take his place.
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand predicted that Ronaldo would become the new penalty taker for Solskjaer’s side, while backing Fernandes to stay on free kicks.
He told his FIVE YouTube channel: “I think Bruno gives up penalties but doesn’t relinquish free-kicks and corners.
“The free-kicks around the box, he’s going to be on them I think. I think his record demands that he should do that.
“He (Ronaldo) takes the penalties, 100 per cent.
“They agree to give him the penalties but I think free-kicks around the box, Bruno’s just wiping the ball down and putting it down.”