Paul Pogba has picked out former Brazil striker Ronaldo and current Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane as his idols growing up.
Juventus midfielder Pogba, who turned 23 on Tuesday, is regarded as one of the best young players in Europe and will be a key man for France as they bid to win the European Championship on home soil this summer.
The last time France hosted a major tournament was the 1998 World Cup when Ronaldo’s Brazil were beaten in the final by a Les Bleus XI inspired by Zidane.
Pogba revealed the pair left a mark on him and have helped him become the player he is today.
He told FIFA.com: “We watched it on TV at home and I remember going out in our car afterwards to celebrate with friends and sound our horns.
“Ronaldo is my footballing role model and the player that made me fall in love with football. I was enthralled by him as I used to play up front when I was younger. His technique, pace and eye for goal, as well as the variety of his play, was something I liked and admired,
“And of course Zidane too. He’s a French icon and someone who made a real impression on us. We won’t forget him. Everyone respects and admires him and we all want to emulate what he’s achieved in his career.”
Pogba is optimistic Didier Deschamps’ men can replicate the achievement of Zidane, Emmanuel Petit and Co when the tournament gets underway in June.
“I’m confident that with this generation of players we can bring back the good times for French football. We have a fine squad and a very savvy coach who will know how to help us achieve our goals,” he added.
“It would be a dream come true to win my first [senior] title with France.
“I’m gradually acquiring experience and have the good fortune to be valued by Les Bleus. I give my all for the shirt and the country, so I have no problem accepting the responsibility that it entails and putting in the maximum effort.”