Bruno Fernandes sends pointed Harry Maguire message amid Man Utd war with Cristiano Ronaldo
Bruno Fernandes’ new Instagram comments have done little to quell speculation of Manchester United locker room strife.
On Thursday night, Mirror Football exclusively revealed that tensions are rising in the United dressing room, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire locked in a power struggle for the captaincy.
Ralf Rangnick, the interim manager, has asked Ronaldo to mentor the young players in the squad, which is said to have irritated Maguire.
The England international is opposed to stepping down as club captain and delivering the armband to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for the remainder of the season.
“Originally, Ronaldo was encouraging players to support Harry,” a United source said. However, the management now wants Ronaldo to coach all of the younger players.
“That’s put Harry in a bind, because he’s the captain and has to say and do whatever Ronaldo says in order to keep things pleasant.”
Now, Fernandes, a Portugal international, has shared a photo of himself with central defenders Eric Bailly and Raphael Varane, captioned: “Feeling really safe between these two.”
The image, along with that message, also hints at the developing turbulence within the dressing room, with Maguire reportedly feeling marginalised in terms of his authority and reports that divisions are forming, including a Portuguese-speaking group led by Ronaldo.
Many supporters have already commented on social media that Fernandes’ message appears to imply that he likes both Bailly and Varane as defenders above his present captain, whose recent form has raised questions about his position not only as captain, but also in the team’s defence.
Indeed, Fernandes’ upload, which came just hours after news of the rising tension, may be taken as a covert dig at Maguire.
When Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last summer, he immediately urged his teammates to rally behind Maguire.
When the team’s form faltered in recent months, the 37-year-old reaffirmed his message.
However, Ronaldo’s popularity has reportedly dwindled in recent weeks.
Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United and England striker, broke ranks on Thursday to deny reports from Germany that he was upset with Ronaldo’s desire for more influence in the United dressing room.
“Are we just making it up as we go along now?” Rashford wondered. Please don’t look for divisions.”
More schisms in the United dressing room, though, could jeopardise Rangnick’s limited tenure as manager as well as the club’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season.