Manchester City and Portugal defender Ruben Dias has revealed he couldn’t help but be impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo when they first met at Portugal training.
The 25-year-old, who also admitted that nothing could prepare him for the feeling of featuring in his first World Cup, is now starring alongside Ronaldo as the Selecao bid to put the disappointment of the 2018 edition behind them.
Dias had just one cap to his name when he was included in the travelling squad in 2018, but he didn’t made it off the bench after picking up an injury and Portugal fell to Uruguay in the last 16.
As part of a squad rejuvenation, Dias was made a permanent starter for Portugal immediately after that tournament and he heads to Qatar this winter as one of the game’s best centre-backs.
Before his first outing against Ghana on Thursday, Dias admitted the feeling of watching on in 2018 is nothing like actually playing on the biggest stage in the international scene.
“It will definitely be a special moment,” he told CNN.
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“I had the chance of being in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. And I definitely felt a different perspective because it’s one thing to watch it from the outside, you know how big it is, but then to actually live it and be there, it’s just something else.
“As a player, it’s probably the biggest [trophy] you can achieve. It’s unfair to put it into words, to be honest, the feeling you must have after you’ve done it.”
Dias also reflected on his first training session with Cristiano Ronaldo, who he admitted left him impressed with his work ethic.
“The first day I met [Ronaldo], actually trained with him, he had just won the Champions League,” Dias said.
“I still remember that day and we were practicing in normal practice. And then you just see why he was where he was. You know, the way he did everything, every single thing, the detail, the dedication.”
He added: “Football for me is everything. It’s life. It’s happiness. It’s dealing with everything from being wonderful to being the worst thing in the world, dealing with all kinds of emotions.
“It’s preparing my future, it’s preparing one day to have a family. It’s becoming a better man myself. Like many other professions as well but for me, football is a big example of life because you have it all in football.”
Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.
The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.
Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”
Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.
“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”
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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player
Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.
Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.
On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.
It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.
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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.
Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.
He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.
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