Marcus Rashford explains how Ronaldo changed his career


GETTY Rashford idolised Brazilian legend Ronaldo after seeing him in action at Old Trafford

Ronaldo scored eight times as Brazil secured the most recent of those triumphs in 2002 and no doubt one of world football's latest exciting young goalscorers will be hoping Ó Fenómeno is watching on and admiring his talents once again.

The England striker, who is expected to start after featuring as a substitute in the 0-0 draw against Germany on Friday, was in the Old Trafford crowd for the Champions League quarter-final second leg in 2003, when Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to send Real Madrid through on aggregate after a 4-3 defeat by Manchester United.

It was the night Ronaldo set Old Trafford alight with a stunning hat-trick that even left Sir Alex Ferguson drooling on the sidelines.

But in Ronaldo, he found a player he dreamed of one day emulating.

Rashford has established himself in United's first-team setup after fortuitously being handed a chance to shine by former boss Louis van Gaal.

Despite having just turned 20-years-old, the Wythenshawe born man has already racked up over 89 appearances for his club, netting 26 goals in that time.

"My first ever game that I saw live, Ronaldo was playing in it. And I've seen a few bits from him from quite a while back, all the clips on YouTube".

"It was in 2003". I was only young though.

It was the main reason that Rashford watched him so much during his youth.

More than anything physical or technical, it is the freedom Ronaldo played with, the audacity and imagination and risk-taking, that most stood out to Rashford. He'd played a lot of matches for Spurs that season and has gone on to prove himself. When you do that, that's when you play your best football. He felt that was where he'd play in the future, and it still might be I think.

"You model yourself on him naturally".

England striker Marcus Rashford may only be 20 but has already shown the attributes to become a top player, manager Gareth Southgate has said ahead of the team's worldwide friendly against Brazil on Tuesday.

He will carry the hopes of a nation on his shoulders and is relishing the challenge, whether he operates out wide, up front on his own or in an attacking duo alongside Harry Kane.

Southgate continued: "It's unbelievable really that he's been a player who's been able to dip under the radar as we think so much of him, not only his ability, but his mentality and his maturity".

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