Much has been made of Cristiano Ronaldo’s supposedly frosty reunion with Bruno Fernandes in the Portugal camp, but Joao Mario says they were joking.
- All-time great has been critical of Man Utd
- Now away on World Cup duty
- No divides in Fernando Santos’ squad
WHAT HAPPENED? Questions have been asked of whether the two Manchester United team-mates will continue to get along following the publication of Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he asked serious questions of those on and off the field at Old Trafford. Fernandes did not have much to say to an iconic colleague when arriving for World Cup duty, but Mario says that is because a jibe was aimed at his late arrival.
WHAT THEY SAID: Experienced midfielder Mario, who savoured European Championship glory alongside Ronaldo in 2016, has said of a meeting between two club colleagues that was caught on camera: “I was in the locker room at that moment, I saw pictures, it was a joke between them. Curiously, because Bruno was one of the last to arrive, Cristiano asked if he had come by boat. It was a joke between them, they play together.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mario went on to tell Sky Sports when asked if the timing of Ronaldo’s interview would provide an unwelcome distraction for Portugal ahead of their latest quest for a global crown: “He’s always happy when he’s in the national team. I saw him yesterday, he’s quite fine as always. For him it is always a pleasure to be here. He’s totally focused on the national team and for sure he is going to be a big help for us in this World Cup. For us it is the same, the headlines are always about him, so for us it is quite the same. I don’t see a problem with the timing because everyone always speaks about Cristiano, so it’s fine for us.”
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WHAT NEXT? Portugal are due to get their 2022 World Cup campaign underway against Ghana on November 24, before then going on to face Uruguay and South Korea in their other Group H fixtures.