Cristiano Ronaldo has been an inspiration to Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford ever since he stepped foot in Old Trafford in 2003.
Marcus Rashford has been lucky enough to see a host of star players at Manchester United on his rise from the youth ranks to the first team, but none inspired him more than Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo spent six seasons at Old Trafford from 2003 as he established himself as one of the best players in the world, the Portugal superstar scoring 118 goals in all competitions with the Red Devils.
His arrival at United from Sporting CP gave a young Rashford someone to look up to and, despite leaving Manchester for Real Madrid in 2009, the 33-year-old has continued to inspire the England international. For the second time in two weeks Rashford will come up against his idol when United travel to face his now Juventus side in the Champions League, and he is relishing the opportunity.
"The thing that is a massive eye-opener for me now is I remember when he first came his talent was arguably one of the biggest talents that we've seen at United for a long time," he told the club's official website. "To have him and Wayne [Rooney] in the same team was amazing when you look back. But the way he's sustained his career and even improved year on year is just amazing. People don't do that at his age, people are usually heading towards the end of their career and their level starts going down a little bit, but he's just gone up and up and up. For me there is no bigger inspiration in football."
Rashford will not be overawed by coming up against Ronaldo, though, the forward insistent that United will show no fear despite his lethal record in front of goal. He added: "When you play against a player like that you have to respect his qualities but at the same time you have to play your game and you can't show fear to that type of player."
United were beaten 1-0 by Juve in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford last month and trail Massimiliano Allegri's pool leaders by five points in Group H.