BRUNO FERNANDES appeared to take a swipe at wantaway star Cristiano Ronaldo – by suggesting Manchester United are BETTER without him in the team.
The 37-year-old icon has missed the pre-season tour to Australia due to “personal reasons”.
And that has paved the way for Anthony Martial to take his chance at a United revival.
He scored and assisted in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
Fernandes hailed the Frenchman for his work without the ball – hinting he, and therefore the team, is more effective compared to when Ronaldo plays.
The playmaker, 27, said: “The three guys up front [Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Martial] are really aggressive in the press.
“When they press they make the last line squeeze, and makes the midfield come a little bit higher.”
And Red Devils fans on social media were full of praise for Martial, who now has three goals in three games
One said: “Martial is on fire. Who needs Ronaldo?”
Another joked: “Cristiano Ronaldo can leave now….Martial is back.”
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And a third said: “Never thought I would say this but I’d much rather start the season with Martial than Ronaldo.”
Ronaldo and Fernandes are pals both for United and at international level for Portugal.
And while the pair clearly have a friendship and the comments were not directly aimed at Ronaldo, they could suggest rumblings of further discontent in the dressing room.
Ronaldo’s future remains unclear.
He looked on course to leave Old Trafford earlier in the summer but new boss Erik ten Hag is keen to keep the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The ex-Real Madrid ace continues to train in Portugal alongside eldest child Cristiano Jr and pals Jose Semedo and Miguel Paixai.
Ronaldo himself has revealed he will not be returning to Sporting as he insisted speculation of a move back to the Estadio Jose Alvalade is “fake” news.