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Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his ‘favourite player’ growing up. The latter of the two has been in the headlines over the past week after Manchester United announced that the club and player had mutually agreed to terminate his contract at Old Trafford.
Saka became the youngest Englishman ever to score two or more goals at a World Cup finals as the Three Lions cruised to a 6-2 victory in their tournament opener against Iran on Monday. Ronaldo’s Portugal are set to get underway this afternoon, but the veteran forward will be looking to make his mark on a major tournament once again.
The global superstar has inspired several of the world’s top upcoming talents, including Saka, who has now admitted that Ronaldo was a ‘role model’ to him as a child.
“Growing up, my favourite player was Cristiano Ronaldo,” he wrote in an article for England’s official website. “Everyone used to do the same stance as him and the same celebrations, of course, it’s difficult to model yourself on him because he’s one of the best to ever play football and with his stature and the way he can score headers. He can do a lot of stuff that is obviously difficult for others to do, but he was definitely my role model growing up.
“As for Arsenal, I used to love the older generation of players like Thierry Henry. I loved Thierry. And because I was at Arsenal, I used to be able to go to games, and at that time, I loved Alexis Sanchez. He was one of my favourite players.”
Now that Ronaldo’s a free agent, a small percentage of Arsenal supporters may even be hoping for the 37-year-old to make a surprise switch to the Emirates in the coming weeks. It’s a transfer that’s unlikely to happen, especially given how Edu and Mikel Arteta have prioritised younger signings in recent seasons, but Saka might thrive off playing alongside his hero.
Stranger things have ultimately happened. Let’s just wait to see where Ronaldo ends up.