How Ronaldo has inspired Hojlund
Rasmus Hojlund has explained why Cristiano Ronaldo is his goalscoring inspiration, during an insightful interview about being a modern striker.
The 20-year-old is joint-top scorer in this season’s UEFA Champions League, netting five goals in his first four appearances in the competition for Manchester United.
Hojlund is the quickest Red to reach that number of strikes in the tournament, but he still has a long way to go before matching ‘idol’ Ronaldo, who is the Champions League’s all-time leading marksman.
During a recent chat with TeamViewer Diaries, Rasmus revealed the reason he has always looked up to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“Cristiano has always been like my idol growing up,” he said.
“I always thought he was the best football player in the world and I just tried to learn from him.
“He is the greatest goalscorer ever, probably as well. I've always looked at him back in the day where he was more of a dribbler and now he's a proper, proper goalscorer.
“You know he had proper talent, but he worked hard to be the best ever and I like that about him.”
As mentioned, Ronaldo transformed from an exciting, mercurial winger to the sport’s premier player and it’s clear that Hojlund has a similar mentality to always get better when it comes to working on his own game.
He acknowledges that his position no longer just involves scoring goals, with a greater emphasis now placed on winning back possession and hassling the opposition defenders.
“I think there's a lot of things I can improve, which is, of course, a good thing because then I think I can develop into being an even greater striker than I am now,” he continued.
“Hopefully I can just keep learning every day from the guys here, from the games and from the coaching staff.
“In the modern game of football, we need to do the hard pressing as well from the front line. The game is evolving, and I learned that already in my youth years.
“So I've always been used to the pressing part. And like you said, I think it’s one of the things I do well.
“The boss also wants me and the frontline to put in a shift, so yes it’s good."
Rasmus is one of three professional footballers in his family, with 18-year-old twins Emil and Oscar plying their trade for FC Copenhagen, our Group A opponents in the Champions League.
Emil scored against United’s Under-19s in this week’s UEFA Youth League fixture, while midfielder Oscar has 12 senior appearances under his belt for the Danes already this season and came on as a substitute for FCK at Old Trafford in October.
The secret, according to the elder Hojlund, is graft and grounding: “I think you’ve got to work hard.
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“My parents have always been very honest with us, telling us that if you want to reach the top, you’ve got to work, and telling us if we didn’t put in the work or if we didn’t perform enough on the pitch and even on how much and where we had to develop our game.
“So it was always about improving and being better and trying to reach this kind of level. And it has worked quite well so far. But yeah, we still have a long way to go.
“They’re only 18 and, for me, I know I play in probably the best club in the world but in my career I have so much more to achieve.
“So I just want to see how far I can go and try to achieve as much as possible.”