Cantona’s arrival from Leeds United in 1992 is widely regarded as the catalyst for 20 years of domestic and European glory. Bruno’s stunning impact at United has ensured that comparisons with the iconic Frenchman have followed him around since his first few games for the club.
After making a £47m move from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, the Portuguese sensation propelled United up the Premier League table into a creditable third place.
Any doubts about his longevity have been swatted aside over the current campaign, with an incredible 45 goal involvements – 28 of them goals – in 57 games, across all competitions.
When asked about the similarities, Fernandes said, “Of course it’s an honour to be compared with him…when you are compared with these kinds of players it is a good kind of pressure, because I want to be better every day. To be compared with him makes me work harder.”
On the eve of United’s biggest game of the season, a Europa League Final against Spain’s Villareal, Fernandes showed characteristic modesty when discussing his influence at Old Trafford.
Although acknowledging his role in the side, Fernandes was keen to stress the importance of his teammates, saying, “My teammates make me better every day. They help with the movement they have, with the finishing they have…I have the support of my teammates and the trust of my teammates. That’s what makes me do better and better, because if they trust me, they know I can help them.”
In a possible reference to recently-revived protests against the Glazers’ ownership of United, Fernandes also stressed the importance of club unity in the fight for future honours.
“Together we can reach better things,” he said, “We have the chance this season to win a trophy…second place is an improvement…the most important thing for next season is being all together: Club, players and fans pushing to the same side…if we push (together) we could reach many, many great things next season. I’m pretty sure next season will be much better than this one.”