Martial: Ronaldo was my idol growing up

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Anthony Martial Manchester United Fenerbahce Europa League
The Manchester United forward took inspiration from the iconic Brazilian striker during his childhood, not the ex-Red Devil now on the books at Madrid

Anthony Martial has revealed that he was a big fan of Ronaldo growing up - but not the man who preceded him as an exciting young forward at Manchester United.

The Red Devils have helped to nurture plenty of young wingers down the years, with a certain Portugal international brought onto their books back in 2003.

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Martial was just eight years old when Cristiano Ronaldo burst onto the scene at Old Trafford, with early steps taken on a road that would lead to a record-breaking transfer to Real Madrid and four Ballons d’Or.

He did, however, find himself performing in the shadow of a namesake during those formative years, with a Brazilian World Cup winner dominating the Ronaldo moniker around that time.

Ronaldo Brazil World Cup 2002

And it was ‘Il Fenomeno’ that Martial looked up to during his childhood, with his exploits at Barcelona, Inter and Real Madrid helping to convince the Frenchman that he too wanted to forge a career as a dangerous frontman.

Martial told United’s official matchday programme on his heroes growing up: “Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, and Ronaldinho.”

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The 21-year-old, who has been on United’s books for 16 months now, will be hoping to tread a similar path to those iconic figures of the past over the coming years.

He certainly made a bright start to his career at Old Trafford upon signing in September 2015, with a debut goal against fierce rivals Liverpool considered to be the finest he has scored.

Martial said of that individual strike: “It has to be the one against Liverpool on my United debut. Hopefully, I can score against them again.”

Anthony Martial Manchester United 2017

Becoming a regular goalscorer for United remains the immediate aim for Martial, with the future looking bright for the France international.

If he could turn the clock back, though, then there is one fixture in particular that he would have loved to have graced.

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He said: “I’d go for the French national team in 1998 – the one that won the World Cup.”

For now, Martial must set his sights on chasing down major honours with the Red Devils, while a shot at winning a World Cup medal of his own could be on the cards in 2018 if he continues to impress at club level.