Marcus Rashford has tried to emulate Brazil great Ronaldo ever since watching him produce a star performance against Manchester United in 2003.
Ronaldo, twice a World Cup winner, scored a memorable hat-trick for Real Madrid in a 4-3 Champions League defeat at Old Trafford 14 years ago that saw him receive a standing ovation from the home fans.
Rashford remembers watching that match and has attempted to replicate the former Barcelona and Inter star’s uninhibited style of play.
The 20-year-old is also proud to have received praise from Ronaldo, who last year described Rashford as “courageous” and “very good with the ball”.
“My first ever game that I saw live, he [Ronaldo] was playing in it,” Rashford said ahead of England’s friendly match with Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday.
“I always remember it: it was in 2003 and he scored a hat-trick. I was only young, but he was my brother’s favourite player, so I’ve grown up watching so much of him.
“He was a top player who won a lot of things, so when he’s saying good things about you, it really stands out. When you’re young, you watch clips of the best players in the world and try to emulate them.
“With Ronaldo, I liked how he always played free. No matter where he was playing, he went out there and expressed himself. When you do that, that’s when you play your best football.”
— England (@England) November 12, 2017
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