It is common knowledge that Cristiano Ronaldo boasts supporters across the world. However, it might surprise a few that two of his most fervent fans are featuring prominently in the inaugural Girls' Youth Olympic Football Tournament Singapore 2010.
Turkey midfielder Hilal Baskol and Equatorial Guinea captain Judit Ndong stood out on an enthralling night of football in the concluding round of the group stage steering their respective sides to victories. And while they may have differing playing styles, they do have one thing in common - admiration for the Real Madrid goal-scorer.
Baskol was the first to shine firing a spectacular free-kick to double Turkey's lead before teeing up Nazmiye Aytop for the goal which sealed a 4-0 win over Papua New Guinea in the early game. Sophisticated on the ball throughout, the 15-year-old told* FIFA.com* she has been modelling her game on the Portuguese star.
"I fancy his style of play and the way he scores goals," said the lively Turkey No7. "Being a student I can only play football in my spare time but I work hard and have spent a great deal of efforts in improving my skills."
With Ronaldo as her inspiration, it is understandable that the diminutive player shows such ambition. But despite helping her side to the semi-finals, she seemed in no mood to celebrate. "It is still too early to celebrate as the semi-final clash (against Chile) will be a real challenge for us," she continued. "We can’t really celebrate perhaps until after reaching the final."
Ndong the dribbler
While Baskol was earning praise for her sublime skill with set-pieces, Ndong was attracting attention with her agility and clinical finishing. The Equatorial Guinea No10 pounced onto a rebound to put her side in front after twelve minutes before restoring their lead with an opportunistic goal that set the Africans on the road to a 4-1 victory. Ndong impressed throughout the game as she repeatedly dribbled through or twisted past the Chile defenders to create chances for her side.
She also told FIFA.com: "Ronaldo is my favourite player as he can dribble past his markers as dancing his way through. His finishing is second to none and he has a special feeling in scoring goals. And he is handsome!
"I will practise hard to make progress and although I may never become a great player like him, I can at least make sure I am growing with the passage of time," she concluded.