The Italian champions were knocked out by Porto on Tuesday following a dramatic second leg which saw the Portuguese side progress on away goals, despite a 3-2 defeat on the night.
Ronaldo had little impact on the tie overall and was heavily criticised for turning his back on Sergio Oliveira’s free-kick which ultimately turned out to be the decisive goal in the tie.
Under-fire manager Andrea Pirlo is now clinging to his job with Juventus out of Europe and trailing Serie A leaders Inter by 10 points with just 10 games of the domestic campaign remaining.
Ronaldo joined the Old Lady back in the summer of 2018 and although he has, until now, helped the Turin giants maintain their dominance of the domestic scene, his failure to help Juve conquer Europe has seen many pundits question the wisdom of investing so heavily in a player coming towards the end of his stellar career.
Fernandes, however, an international teammate of Ronaldo’s, insists the 36-year-old cannot be held solely accountable for Juventus’ highly questionable recent European record.
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: ‘Cristiano is one of the greats in football history,. His mentality inspires those who practice this sport.
‘He has won a lot, but no one can win alone. I understand that his presence at Juve had created enormous expectations for the Champions League, but when a team lose, the whole squad lose, not one single player.’
While Ronaldo is spending the remaining peak years of his career in Italy, by contrast, Fernandes spent his formative years in Italy with Udinese and Sampdoria.
The 26-year-old has since gone on to have a transformative impact at Old Trafford since joining Manchester United but he believes those early experiences have helped mold him into the player he is today.
‘Udine was, also for the years spent with the Friuli, the most important stage, but the change of coach didn’t help me. It was too bad, because I had found a real teacher in Francesco Guidolin. If I had spent more time with him, it might have been different.
‘In any case, I can only thank Italy for what it has given me. I was happy, I lived an experience of growth, I measured myself with a country where the football is of the highest level.’