LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Willian of Chelsea in action against Angus Gunn of Southampton during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Southampton FC at Stamford Bridge on January 2, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The Chelsea attacker says he loved the Corinthians legends even before he joined the Brazilian club in 1998.

Midfielder Willian joined Corinthians in 1998 as part of the youth system.

And then in 2006, he debuted professionally, before moving away from the Brazilian team.

“I had a lot of idols growing up. Marcelinho Carioca was a very famous player at the time. He played for Corinthians,” he told Chelsea’s official website.

“He’s an idol of the Corinthians fans and he played in a similar position to me. Ronaldo was phenomenal.”

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“I also looked up to Romario and Ronaldinho. For me, Ronaldinho was the number one. They were the guys I admired but I could mention a lot more names because in Brazil at that time there were a lot of good players,” he commented.

“When I joined Corinthians I was only nine years old. I used to play for a small football school and one day we went to play a friendly game against a young Corinthians side.”

“When I made my Corinthians debut it was incredible, but I was only there for around 10 months before I joined Shakhtar Donetsk.”

“I won a lot of trophies there. We won the Europa League, which was the UEFA Cup at the time, plus seven Ukrainian league titles and cup competitions, so I began to get a taste of success,” he concluded.