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Bukayo Saka shuns Thierry Henry, names Arsenal Premier League rival as his football idol

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has ignored Thierry Henry and named a former Premier League star as his childhood football idol

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Arsenal star Bukayo Saka
Image credit: Getty Images

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has opened up about his childhood idol, expressing immense respect for the disciplined and focused of former Premier League star. Despite emerging through the ranks at his boyhood club Arsenal, Saka’s idol hailed from one of the Gunners’ rivals.

At just 22 years old, the England international, who has become one of the top players in the Premier League, disclosed that former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo was his idol during his formative years. 

Saka, who was only two years old when Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ triumphed in the Premier League and six when Thierry Henry departed for Barcelona in 2007, spoke highly of the 39-year-old veteran.

The Gunners’ star player who has already scored 16 goals and 15 assists across all competitions this season, admires Ronaldo’s longevity in the sport. Speaking on the Men in Blazers podcast, Saka shared his sentiments, stating, “Personally I can’t (imagine playing for as long as Ronaldo), and that’s why I have so much respect for him. 

READ MORE: Arsenal star says he was unsure of his record breaking goal against Sheffield United
Arsenal - Cristiano Ronaldo

Bukayo Saka says Cristiano Ronaldo was his childhood idol (Image credit: Getty Images)

“Obviously, when I was younger, he was my idol, but now that I’m playing football professionally, I have even more respect for him, how he’s managed to stay this disciplined and this focused and achieve everything he’s achieved, so yeah, he’s special.”

Ronaldo’s illustrious career includes three Premier League titles, a Champions League trophy, two League Cups, and an FA Cup with Manchester United. Following a then world-record £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009, he continued to amass accolades, securing five Ballon d’Or awards by 2017. Ronaldo later joined Juventus in 2018 and returned to Old Trafford in 2021, but the reunion turned contentious, resulting in an acrimonious exit to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in January 2023.

Surpassing Ronaldo’s records for goals and assists at the same age, Saka is now eyeing a Premier League title for Arsenal, aiming to overcome rivals Liverpool and Manchester City by the end of the season. 

The England winger was again instrumental for the Gunners on Monday in the 6-0 win over Sheffield United, bringing them within two points of league leaders Liverpool and one behind reigning champions Manchester City. However, he was substituted at half time at Bramall Lane and was reportedly not feeling well during the game.

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