Marcus Rashford has explained how he uses Cristiano Ronaldo as his primary source of motivation for improving as a player.
The 20-year-old, who could start for England against Panama on Sunday, has always branded Ronaldo as his favourite player growing up, describing his remarkable Ballon d’Or record as a “joke”.
Ronaldo has been a storming influence at this World Cup for Portugal so far, claiming a hat-trick in the opener against Spain and scoring the winner against Morocco.
And Rashford, reflecting on the former Manchester United man, enthused at the way Ronaldo continues to relentlessly improve himself even after winning five Ballon d’Ors.
“He keeps making these moments which are unbelievable and there is no better sort of motivation than him,” he said.
“[Is he the best in the game right now?] I’d say so. He is not only maintaining it but he keeps hitting new heights.
“To get to that level it takes years and years of doing the same things in training every day.”
Ronaldo is a gift to all of us. That is not to say that God, sitting up there in the clouds, literally gave us Ronaldo as a form of providential love, although I wouldn’t rule it out completely.
He is a gift because of what he shows to be possible. There has never been – and possibly never will be – a better monument to unyielding, ferocious self-improvement in sport. Every day, every week, every year. Over and over again. Always improving, refining your game, winning trophy after trophy.
For the majority of us – I mean, I’m bad at merely cleaning my room – it is something you can only gawp at. For Rashford, it is something to aim at.