Bruno Fernandes’ ‘dream’ move to the Premier League has caused concern among his Sporting teammates after Stefan Ristovski was filmed begging him to stay.
Fernandes had a stellar campaign for Sporting across the 2018/19 season, bagging 20 goals and carving out 13 assists in the Primeira Liga.
Could Fernandes leave Sporting? Five key things to know…
- Amid unrest in the Sporting camp last summer, Fernandes was the subject of interest from around Europe.
- After another exceptional season at the Jose Alvalade Stadium, his stock has since skyrocketed.
- Earlier this month, Man City were reportedly close to securing his signature for £47.2m.
- But the Portuguese has attracted plenty of interest elsewhere, with Man Utd among those keeping tabs.
- It is believed Fernandes will leave this summer, but Ristovski has now urged him to stay in Lisbon.
His exploits in the final third helped Marcel Keizer’s side finish third in the Portuguese top-flight – as well as becoming only the second side to win the Taca de Portugal and Taca da Liga in the same season – and the twinkle-toed playmaker has already expressed a desire to win the league with Leoes.
However, the 24-year-old captain has also opened the door on a move away from the capital should the right offer come in, outlining his aspirations to play in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
“Obviously if an irrefutable proposal for me arrives, and it’s good for the club, let’s get together and decide together,” he told Diario de Noticias.
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“I always said that I was an ambitious player and from a very early age I have had a dream of playing in England, where you can live pure football without big controversy, without big cases.
“Now, any of the other leagues, Germany, Spain and Italy are also very good and ambitious.”
Those comments, coupled with fervent interest from the Premier League, haven’t gone down too well with Fernandes’ teammate Ristovski, who was caught on camera jokingly begging the club’s talisman to stay.
In an interview with Fernandes himself to Sporting TV after the club’s Taca de Portugal victory over Porto, Ristovski made his thoughts abundantly clear.
He said: “Please stay with us for next season, otherwise we’re f****d!”
Risto a representar todos os adeptos do Sporting 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/m7dLTucgP4
— alice⚡ (@alicescp3) May 25, 2019
Fernandes could have left last season
Following an incident last year in which the Sporting training centre was infiltrated by a group of around 50 supporters, a number of players left the club, including Rui Patricio, Gelson Martins and William Carvalho.
Fernandes was another tipped to leave and the Portugal international had offers aplenty, but he has now revealed that he was not ready for the next step in his career at that point.
Only two teams have won the Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga in the same season:
🦅 SL Benfica (2013-14)
🦁 Sporting CP (2018-19)
An elusive domestic cup double for the Leões. pic.twitter.com/4peblWKEIE
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 25, 2019
“Last year I received approaches, mainly from England and also from Spain, but I did not feel prepared to go,” he told Sport TV last month. “Not because of difficulty, but for the high number of games in England.
“My debut season at Sporting was the first time I played so many games, I thought I needed one more season with that kind of regularity.
“Now I feel prepared for this requirement if I ever have to play in England or a team in Spain.”