Nicknames can be hard to shift once they stick to a player – so why has the Portuguese playmaker been given his?
When Manchester United get a penalty, the man they charge with the responsibility of converting it is Bruno Fernandes.
It used to be Marcus Rashford or Paul Pogba – and it still is, on occasion – but the Portuguese playmaker has shown such accuracy from 12 yards that he is usually the best bet.
Since taking over the penalty-taking duties at Old Trafford, Fernandes has been dubbed ‘Penandes’, but why? Goal takes a look.
Why is Bruno Fernandes called ‘Penandes’?
Fernandes is called ‘Penandes’ by rival supporters because of a perception that his goalscoring exploits are heavily padded out by penalty goals.
A portmaneau of ‘penalty’ and ‘Fernandes’, it is a pejorative nickname designed to play down the attacking prowess of the Portugal star by emphasising that penalties make up a significant portion of his goal tally.
The nickname has some currency on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where rival supporters frequently trade barbs.
Interestingly, in being christened ‘Penandes’ by opposing fans, Fernandes follows in the footsteps of his compatriot, and five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo.
During his time at Real Madrid, Ronaldo was disparagingly called ‘Penaldo’ by Barcelona fans for the same reasons described above.
The nickname has followed the Portuguese icon to Italy, where he hits penalties for Juventus as well.
Bruno Penandes is enjoying his time in the Premier League 😆 pic.twitter.com/4wz7KqoT8f
— Goal (@goal) July 10, 2020
Is it a fair nickname?
As with any nickname that has been anointed by rival fans in football, there is always a chance that it is unfair or wildly exaggerated.
However, with apologies to Manchester United supporters, in the case of Fernandes, the mocking epithet may well be warranted.
Rival fans in 2020
sh*t why didnt we buy him
— Ivailo 🔴 (@kentavuraa) December 18, 2020
In his first season at Old Trafford, in 2019-20, Fernandes scored a total of 12 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions. Of those 12 goals, eight of them – or two-thirds – were from penalties.
He scored eight times in the Premier League that season and 50 per cent of them were from the penalty spot, while his FA Cup semi-final strike against Chelsea and all three of his goals in the Europa League were from spot kicks too.
Even Jose Mourinho got in on the joke in 2020 when he remarked how his compatriot was one of the best penalty takers in the world “because he had about 20 to score.”
B̶r̶u̶n̶o̶ ̶P̶e̶n̶a̶n̶d̶e̶s̶ Bruno Freenandes 😎
Klopp wasn’t worried about Bruno Fernandes’ penalties 🙄
So he scored a free-kick instead 🤭 pic.twitter.com/QsSZjXMgIN
— Goal (@goal) January 25, 2021
Of course, Fernandes does happen to be Manchester United’s chief penalty taker and, in his defence, what is he supposed to do? Miss them to take the wind out of the sails of his detractors? That would be preposterous.
Either way, the Portugal midfielder is nonplussed by the nickname, stressing in a 2020 interview with the United Review that “penalties are part of the game”.
“We can’t talk a lot about penalties because everybody will say: ‘Bruno only scores with penalties’,” Fernandes said. “If the others score them, it’s no problem! They just score a penalty, you know!
“Penalties are part of the game, you know. You need to score. You have the chance but you need to score.
“I know everyone is talking about them like it’s easy but you can lose a final with a penalty. Manchester wins the Champions League in Moscow with penalties [in 2008].
“For most people, it’s easy when you’re in front of the TV. It is easy – just look at the goalkeeper jump to his left so why don’t you shoot to the right?
“Yeah, I can shoot to the right but, on my mind, was the left and the goalkeeper saved it! It can happen!
“But the most important thing, for me, is to keep scoring.”
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