Bruma (c.) cannot speak highly enough of Portugal compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd.l.). - © © imago
Bruma (c.) cannot speak highly enough of Portugal compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd.l.). - © © imago

"Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world, Portugal's most important player and a friend" - RB Leipzig's Bruma


Ever wondered what makes Portugal and Real Madrid goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo tick? RB Leipzig winger Bruma has all the answers.

Bruma missed out on a place in Portugal's 2018 FIFA World Cup squad, but has had the pleasure of playing alongside Ronaldo at international level and also came through the same Sporting Lisbon youth academy as the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I grew up at Sporting, in the same academy as Ronaldo," Bruma told SPORT BILD. "There are photos of him everywhere, all the coaches talk about him and his training regime as a youngster. We always looked up to him. I met him for the first time as a youngster and a few times since, most recently as part of the national team. We always have a good chat. He's my biggest idol, but it feels more like a friendship. He's the best footballer in the world."

Few would disagree. Ronaldo has been on fire at Russia 2018, scoring a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Spain and heading home the match-winning goal against Morocco. Captain, goalscorer and motivator-in-chief, it's fair to say Portugal would not be the same without him.

"Ronaldo is Portuguese football's most important player," Bruma said. "He's a great person, a role model for everyone, especially the youngsters. That's why he's so important to the young players currently in the national team. Everyone's always watching him in training and doing things the same way. If Ronaldo was always mouthing off or skipping training it'd influence the youngsters. But he's a quiet guy and very professional. That's plain for everyone to see."

Watch: Highlights from Bruma's debut season in the Bundesliga

Ronaldo's influence also extends to outside the pitch. "A lot of guys adopt his fitness programme or his diet, myself included," Bruma revealed. "And he's always there. He helps everyone, you can always talk to him. He goes above and beyond for his teammates. In training, he's always fully focussed. In the stadium, you see that he's Ronaldo. His charisma makes him strong. He scares the opposition. Away from it, he's great - a funny guy, always having fun. No one wants to think about how it'll be when he’s not playing any more."

Luckily for Bruma, 23, Portugal's world-beating No.7 has no plans to slow down. "I feel 23, and can keep playing until I'm 41," 33-year-old Ronaldo said recently. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling happy. I can't complain."

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