Cristiano Ronaldo will have inspired millions of aspiring young footballers from across the globe over the past decade - but who did the Real Madrid superstar look up to when he was growing up?
We know that Lionel Messi idolised the former Argentina international Pablo Aimar, but little is known about the players Ronaldo aspired to be like during his formative years in the Sporting Lisbon youth ranks.
But the 30-year-old has now revealed all in an interview with Unscriptd, in which he names three players he looked up to as a child. (Scroll down this page to find out who Ronaldo aspired to be like).
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“I think most of the time, I inspire myself. I’m self-motivated,” the three-time Ballon d’Or winner commented. “But, of course, at a young age I was looking for a reference. In the national team, for example, [Luis] Figo, Rui Costa, Fernando Couto - it was kind of a dream to achieve that level.
“I don’t have a specific one person that I just follow.”
Couto a surprise pick
Figo was one of the best players of his generation while Costa was an outstanding talent, but it’s a slight surprise to hear Ronaldo name Couto - a centre-back - as one of the players he looked up to.
Then again, Couto was a mainstay of the Portuguese national team, making 110 appearances for his country between 1990 and 2004.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Portuguese legend
Cristiano made his international debut in 2003, so briefly played alongside all three of the aforementioned Portuguese players.
Thirteen years later and Ronaldo now has more international caps than both Costa and Couto - and finds himself just four appearances behind Figo.
When he surpasses Figo later this year, Ronaldo will have cemented his status as Portugal’s record appearance holder. He is already the country’s all-time top scorer with 55 goals in 123 appearances.
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