Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik is a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, but is hoping to get one over on the Portugal star on Thursday.
Milik is set to start for Poland in their Euro 2016, quarter-final clash with the Portuguese in Marseille with Ronaldo certain to be in the opposing line-up.
And the 22-year-old, who plays his club football for Ajax, is happy to put his admiration to one side for 90 minutes.
He said: “I am not hiding it, it was only a few years ago that I was trying to learn from Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He’s one of the world’s best players and players like that you need to follow and take inspiration from.
“He’s an example of hard work, it is not just talent, he’s a great example of that. It will be something special for me to play against him. I am very happy, it’s great there is the chance to meet on the pitch, but I will try to focus on my team and not look up at him.”
Milik should be used to rubbing shoulders with the world’s best after honing his skills at the Amsterdam ArenA under Dennis Bergkamp.
He said of the former Netherlands international, who has remained at Ajax as assistant to new coach Peter Bosz following the departure of Frank de Boer: “When I joined the club, we had a good relationship because I wanted to spend time after training working on my technique.
“We have good contact between him and I. We text each other and I send him my greetings from here.
“Dennis Bergkamp is a special person for me, he’s a player who had a great career and you can constantly learn from him. I try to take as much as possible from him.”
Milik has scored once at Euro 2016, but has attracted criticism for his profligacy in front of goal, most notably the shocking first-minute miss against Switzerland on Saturday.
Strike partner Robert Lewandowski is also struggling for goals – he has yet to get off the mark in France – but Milik is unconcerned, adding: “I am calm. There have been some chances and perhaps I didn’t have that cold bloodedness in front of goal. I’m sure I have the skill to finish it off next time.
“If there are some things [criticism] on the internet I don’t care. I don’t have a problem with pressure, I do my best and to fulfil the tactical job the coach gives me.”
On Portugal, he said: “We are capable of beating Portugal. We know they’re a great team with great players but we know we’ll play at 100%. We’ll approach it fully focused and if we do that we have a chance of progressing.
“We’re trying to approach it like any other game, we don’t feel any additional pressure because we are fighting for the semi-finals. Every single match we try to do our best and that’s the same on Thursday.”
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