Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has revealed he idolised Portugal team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo when he was a youngster.
Jota, 24 on Friday, is just under 12 years younger than Juventus star Ronaldo and while growing up was in awe of a player he now features alongside at international level.
The two players have both been in fine form for their club sides this season – Jota has scored nine goals in 15 appearances in all competitions for the Premier League champions.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, has managed nine goals in seven games for the Serie A title holders.
Jota told The Athletic: “My earliest memories are from the Euro 2004 when Portugal reached the final and unfortunately we lost. I was seven and I remember it well.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was my hero. At that time, he was 19 but he was already playing at the Euros with so much quality.
“During my childhood, he was at Manchester United and Real Madrid. As Portuguese guys, we always looked upon him as our main reference.”
Last 16 pic.twitter.com/GppNiCJxjq
— Diogo Jota (@DiogoJota18) December 2, 2020
On Sunday, Jota will face former club Wolves for the first time since he joined Liverpool in September.
He claimed the influence of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has helped him make such an impressive start to life at Anfield.
Jota added: “When you reach a new club, having an open mind is key to be able to adapt as quickly as possible.
“With the season underway already, it was up to me to find a way to get into the team and not the opposite. That’s what I did with the help of Jurgen.
“He’s a fantastic manager who took care of me. When I first arrived, he had a meeting with me and he explained how the team works.
“Then it’s down to the player to try to learn as fast as you can and to prove to the manager that you can be an important player for him on the field.”