Rashford: Ronaldo scored hat-trick in my first ever game

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The 20-year-old striker was in the stands as the Brazilian netted three to put the Red Devils out of the Champions League

Marcus Rashford says he has been inspired by Real Madrid and Brazil legend Ronaldo after seeing him in the first game he ever attended.

In 2003, when he was five years old, Rashford watched United beat Madrid 4-3 in the second round of their Champions League quarter-final.

Former Selecao striker Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for the Spanish side which proved crucial as they went through with a 6-5 lead on aggregate.

Although the Red Devils went out, an impressionable Rashford was influenced by the game and looked to emulate the legendary striker as he rose to the United first-team. 

“My first ever game that I saw live, he [Ronaldo] was playing in it,” the striker told The Guardian.

“I always remember it; it was in 2003 and he scored a hat-trick. I was only young, but he was my brother’s favourite player, so I’ve grown up watching so much of him.”

“He was a top player who won a lot of things, so when he’s saying good things about you it really stands out.

"When you’re young you watch clips of the best players in the world and try to emulate them. With Ronaldo, I liked how he always played free. No matter where he was playing, he went out there and expressed himself. When you do that, that’s when you play your best football.”

Rashford could feature against his hero's country when England host Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday. The 20-year-old came on as a substitute in the second half of Friday's draw with Germany as Jamie Vardy and Tammy Abraham lined up at the front of the attack. After the goalless draw, Rashford believes it may take them a while to get used to the new 3-5-2 formation if coach Gareth Southgate sticks with it.

“It’s a bit different but like anything new it takes a bit of getting used to,” he said.

"The more we do it the better we’ll become at it, so it’s just about familiarising ourselves with positions and responsibilities. Playing in a two is easier. It’s just about understanding each other’s games and building those relationships, which you can do off the pitch as well."

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