Ronaldo an ´inspiration´ and ´extraordinary´ Mbappe a role model for Swiss star Embolo

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Breel Embolo hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as an inspiration and Kylian Mbappe as a role model ahead of Switzerland’s World Cup last-16 tie against Portugal.

Embolo has impressed for the Swiss in Qatar, scoring twice in the group stage.

That is one more goal than Ronaldo has managed, with the Portugal captain netting only in their opening win over Ghana, with the goal coming from the penalty spot.

It did, however, make Ronaldo the first man to score at five different World Cups, and Embolo is honoured to get the chance to go up against the 37-year-old on the biggest stage.

“I think Cristiano, not just for forwards, but for all athletes, is a great inspiration and is enriching for our time,” he said in a press conference.

“You can only learn from someone like him. As a player and a person, it’s an honour to be facing him.”

France star Mbappe, meanwhile, has been in superb form, scoring five goals to lead the charge for the Golden Boot, with his excellent double against Poland on Sunday sending Les Bleus into a quarter-final against England.

Mbappe already has nine World Cup goals to his name, as many as Lionel Messi and more than Ronaldo (eight). Aged 23 years and 349 days, he is the youngest player to score five knockout-stage goals at the competition since Brazil great Pele in 1958.

Embolo is almost two years older than Mbappe, but the Monaco forward still sees him as a player to look up to.

“He’s incredible. He’s 23 years old, he’s an incredible player, I know him from Ligue 1 and he is a role model even for me,” Embolo said of Mbappe.

“What he’s doing at the moment is really impressive, so I want to congratulate him, he is extraordinary.

“Nine goals in World Cups at 23 – it says everything about him. I really wish him all the best, and for him to score nine more World Cup goals.”

After a full-blooded victory over Serbia to make the last 16, Switzerland are looking to win three games in a single World Cup tournament for the first time in their history.

Asked if this was the most promising Swiss squad he had been a part of at a major tournament, Embolo replied: “It’s like all generations, there is a change. I joined this group six, seven years ago, so it’s difficult to say this is the best generation.

“There have been very great players and these players showed us how to integrate, like Yann Sommer or Granit Xhaka. It’s important to keep these values in the team and transmit to the next generation.

“If I learned something it’s that if we had challenging times in our lives or at our clubs but we were always together.”

This will be the third meeting between Portugal and Switzerland in 2022, having faced each other twice in the Nations League in June.

Portugal won 4-0 in a match played in Lisbon, before Switzerland won 1-0 in Geneva a week later.

“We are ready, the squad is complete. It’s a big opportunity for us to make history for Switzerland, we have seen how euphoric the Swiss people are about us being at this stage,” said coach Murat Yakin.

“Statistics and the past don’t matter, we will focus on this game. We are familiar with this opponent and we’ve proven we can beat them. Everything else is history.”



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