Javier Hernandez has praised Cristiano Ronaldo for helping him to refind his passion for football after a frustrating loan spell at Real Madrid.
The Mexican striker was allowed to leave Manchester United after failing to convince Louis van Gaal last summer and was quickly snapped up by Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal.
His loan move to the European champions came as quite a surprise to many at Old Trafford, but, as it turned out, his role at the Bernabeu was always going to be as back-up to Karim Benzema.
Hernandez barely got a chance to impress under Carlo Ancelotti and, inevitably, Los Blancos opted against making his temporary stay in the Spanish capital permanent.
While Hernandez has admitted he was left frustrated by his lack of chances at Real Madrid, he has had some very nice things to say about Ronaldo.
Finding one's self
"Cristiano is a great player," he told Univision. "There are no words to describe him. He is a clear example that hard work pays off.
"The season at Real Madrid was one full of learning. It helped me find myself again as a player.
"I was on the bench a lot, which was frustrating because I was not important."
The golden moment
While Hernandez failed to make much of an impact at Real Madrid, the 27-year-old will take some good memories back to Manchester United.
Notably, Hernandez scored the winning goal in a tight Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid to send the club into the semi-finals.
"The goal against Atletico was a big relief because it was a difficult year and I had so few opportunities," he said of the late strike.
Hernandez is likely to leave Manchester United on a permanent basis this summer with a number of Premier League clubs believed to be interested in a deal.
The likes of Southampton and Tottenham are both tracking the player, but Hernandez's familiarity with playing for a Champions League club could prevent them from sealing a transfer.
After moving to England in 2010, Hernandez has never been a first-choice striker and should certainly seek an important first-team role over wages or European football.
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