Manchester United full-back Diogo Dalot has opened on his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo, who remains his biggest source of inspiration to this day.
20-year-old Dalot followed in his idol Ronaldo’s footsteps last summer by completing a move to United from his native Portugal.
The former Porto star is regarded as one of Portugal’s brightest young talents, with United forking out €22m for his signature and tying him down on a five-year contract in 2018.
And, like many young players back in his homeland, Dalot grew up idolising Ronaldo as he came through the Porto youth ranks. But he was quick to point out that his admiration for the Juventus star has nothing to do with their shared nationality.
“Ronaldo, for me, was the main one. He was my idol from day one,” Dalot told SoccerBible Magazine.
“Not because he’s Portuguese, or his style of playing, but for his hard work. When you think of an athlete, a complete athlete, a complete footballer, you need to choose Cristiano.
“For me, he was the main inspiration to start playing football. Not because I want to be like him, I want to take my own path, but to get to know him and see how he works is unbelievable.”
Dalot didn’t quite have the debut campaign he hoped for at United following some big errors against Arsenal and Barcelona.
The obvious highlight was when he won the penalty that Marcus Rashford scored to seal a remarkable Champions League last-16 comeback win for the Red Devils over Paris Saint-Germain.
And hopes remain high for the young Dalot at Old Trafford, with pundits arguing that more opportunities and experience will help him progress.
The Portugal U-21 international made a total of 23 appearances for his first season of English football.
“Of course it’s hard to get to a big team,” said Dalot.
“But then it’s harder to stay there because you are competing with a lot of footballers that are such hard workers.
“When you get to the big clubs, to the big leagues, you know that every day you need to get better and better and better. For me, I think hard work is the main thing. Work hard and stay humble.”
— Diogo Dalot (@DalotDiogo) March 6, 2019