Diogo Dalot has spoken passionately about Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo and explained why his fellow Portuguese remains his primary inspiration in football.
However, in an interview with SoccerBible Magazine, our buccaneering right-back is quick to point out that their shared nationality has nothing to do with his admiration for United legend Ronaldo.
When asked to name his role models when growing up in Porto, Dalot jokes that his response will probably be obvious to readers – but he also goes into detail when outlining why he loves Cristiano.
“My answer will be a little bit shocking for everyone,” laughs Diogo. “Ronaldo, for me, was the main one. He was my idol from day one. Not because he’s Portuguese or his style of playing, but for his hard work. When you think of an athlete, a complete athlete, a complete footballer, you need to choose Cristiano. “
“For me, he was the main inspiration to start playing football. Not because I want to be like him, I want to take my own path, but to get to know him and see how he works is unbelievable.”
“He was my idol from day one. Not because he’s Portuguese or his style of playing, but for his hard work. When you think of a complete athlete, a complete footballer, you need to choose Cristiano.”
Hard work is a recurring theme in Dalot’s answers and the 20-year-old is clearly determined to kick on at United, after completing his first season at Old Trafford following his transfer from Porto last summer.
Diogo made 23 appearances in 2018/19 and showed lots of promise, earning praise from fans for his attack-minded style of play at right-back. But the hard work does not stop now, as he explains.
“Of course it’s hard to get to a big team,”
Dalot explains in his interview.
“But then it’s harder to stay there because you are competing with a lot of footballers that are such hard workers. “When you get to the big clubs, to the big leagues, you know that every day you need to get better and better and better. For me, I think hard work is the main thing. Work hard and stay humble.”
Quizzed on the sacrifices he has made, Dalot continues:
“Very many because, like I said, with all the humbleness, to be here is not easy. To be in a team like Manchester United at 19 years old is not easy. You need to make a lot of sacrifices.
“Sometimes you need to say no to your friends, to your family, because you need to rest, or you need to sleep. You can’t go out with your friends as you have a game or training the day after. But in my head, I’m always thinking that someday it will be worth it. I think I have that prize right now.”
As for the future, Dalot is admirably ambitious but the young Portuguese maintains a short-term attitude in his planning and states that every day should be a fight at a club like United.
“I don’t like to think too big for now,”
“I used to say ‘step by step’. Now I just try to focus on getting my opportunities and getting my minutes and showing the manager what I’m capable of, that I can play here.
“Of course, when you lay down on your bed and you dream of the future, you dream of being one of the best right-backs in the world, being a reference for everyone. But that’s when you are in bed. When you wake up, you just need to put your feet on the ground and start working again, because every day is a fight for me. I think that’s the right way.”