Cristiano Ronaldo has dismissed rumours of a falling out between him and Bruno Fernandes after an apparently tense exchange, and explained the pair were sharing a joke.
The Portugal striker courted controversy last week in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan that heavily criticised Manchester United and Erik ten Hag, but his teammates have insisted this will not affect them at the World Cup.
When asked about an uneasy exchange between him and his United teammate Fernandes that came shortly after the interview, Ronaldo explained the pair had been sharing a joke: ‘His plane was late. I asked him if he had come by boat.’
Fernandes has also suggested their interaction was much warmer than it may have appeared.
On his controversial interview, Ronaldo told an impromptu press conference: ‘Sometimes you write truths, sometimes you write lies. I don’t have to worry about what others think. I talk when I want to. Everybody knows who I am and what I believe in.’
He also urged reporters to focus on the football in Qatar, saying: ‘Please, don’t ask the players about me. Ask about the World Cup. I’m bulletproof and iron clad.’
Fernandes shared a similar attitude in brushing away distractions while the World Cup is ongoing. He told Sky Sports: ‘I didn’t read [Ronaldo’s] interview so I’m okay with that. Now it’s the national team, it’s Portugal.
‘We have to be focused on the World Cup because a World Cup doesn’t come every time. You don’t have a chance to play a World Cup many times.’
‘This is the national team, Manchester United will be my focus after the World Cup.’