The Manchester United midfielder says he felt immensely “proud” of his country despite not being involved in the tournament
Fernandes has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence over the last couple of years.
His outstanding performances at Sporting CP attracted attention from a number of the world’s top clubs, and after one of the longest transfer sagas of the last decade, Manchester United won the race for his signature in January.
The Red Devils forked out €55 million (£49m/$62m) to bring the 25-year-old to Old Trafford, and tied him down to a five-year contract.
Fernandes had previous experience in a major European league from his time at Udinese in Serie A between 2013 and 2016, but few could have predicted how quickly he would adapt to the demands of English football.
The Portuguese midfielder has scored eight goals and laid on seven assists in his first 15 appearances for United, establishing himself as a firm fan favourite and the new creative hub in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
Four years ago, he was still awaiting his first cap at international level, and wasn’t even considered for a place in Fernando Santos’ squad for the European Championship in France.
However, Fernandes still tuned in to see Portugal win the tournament by beating the host nation in the final, while taunting two Udinese team-mates with allegiances to Les Bleus.
The former Sporting star has explained how he couldn’t contain his joy after the final whistle, telling the Portuguese football federation: “I was in a hotel during a training camp with Udinese at that point and I had two guys – two French players – with us: Thomas Heurtaux and Cyril Théréau.
“I bet with Heurtaux that whoever lost would take a picture with the other and post it on social media. Even today my photo is still there on my social networks – and on his social networks too, I believe.
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“I remember watching the game alone in my room. Everyone else was watching it on a giant screen. I said no, I’ll watch it alone in the room because they’ll bring bad luck, so let me stay here.
“I stayed in my room alone. The moment we scored the goal I ran across the hotel! I ran to where they were all watching, screaming all the way from my room to where they were! Screaming!
“I got there and they were obviously devastated, the two French guys, and I was really ecstatic. I think that as a Portuguese, regardless of whether you’re actually involved in Portugal’s successes or not, you have to feel proud.”