Wednesday, 29 June 2016
Arkadiusz Milik relishing the opportunity to face Cristiano Ronaldo when Poland take on Portugal in Euro 2016 quarter-finals
Arkadiusz Milik is looking forward to playing against one of his footballing heroes, Cristiano Ronaldo, when Poland face Portugal in the European Championship quarter-finals in Marseille.
The 22-year-old striker, who plays for Dutch club Ajax, is relishing the opportunity to face Ronaldo but admits he is still to find his best form at the tournament after scoring just once during Poland's run to the last eight.
Ronaldo also had a slow start in France before scoring a memorable brace in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Hungary.
The Real Madrid star now needs one goal to match Michel Platini's record of scoring nine goals in European Championship finals matches.
'I'm not hiding that it was only a few years ago that I was trying to learn from Cristiano Ronaldo as much as I could,' Milik said.
Players like that you need to follow and take some inspiration from. He's an example of hard work. It's not just talent, you need to work hard - he's a great example of that.'
Milik insists he won't be star-struck playing against the Real Madrid forward on Thursday night as Portugal and Poland battle for a spot in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
It's great that there's a chance for us to meet on the football pitch,' he said. 'But of course I will try to focus on me and my team and not look up at him.'
The match gives Milik a chance to silence critics who have accused him of missing too many goal scoring opportunities at the tournament.
'There were some chances and maybe I didn't have that cold blood in front of the goal,' he conceded. 'But I'm sure I have the skills to finish it off next time.'
He faced similar criticism at Ajax last season, but finished strongly to notch 21 goals thanks in part to hard work with Ajax assistant coach Dennis Bergkamp, the former Arsenal star known for his finishing, not least the stunning late winner against Argentina in Marseille 18 years ago.
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