- The universal pull of Cristiano Ronaldo is real, even among opposition players
- Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Ronaldo continues to inspire in the sport
- The veteran is regarded by many as one of the greatest to have graced football
Cristiano Ronaldo might be in the twilight of his illustrious career, but his appeal and stardom continue to radiate among fans and even footballers.
The 37-year-old former Manchester United star is currently embarking on a new adventure in the Middle East with Al-Nassr, but he's still adored by many football stars in Europe.
Aside from his undeniable football skill set, Ronaldo's charisma, peerless work ethic, sheer determination, and glamorous off-the-pitch lifestyle inspire many football stars to reach the heights attained by the Portuguese superstar.
Sports Brief takes a look at the top eight football icons who literally worship Cristiano Ronaldo:
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Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Ronaldo spent nine-trophy-laden years at Real Madrid, and it comes as little to no surprise he inspires the current stars at Los Blancos.
The superstar took time out of his training schedule to spend time with his former club recently. The feedback was resounding, as Vinicius Junior literally described Ronaldo as the greatest footballer of all-time, to underline his unfettered love for the Portuguese.
Rodrygo (Real Madrid)
Another Los Blancos star, Rodrygo was over the moon to meet his 'biggest idol' during Real Madrid training in Saudi Arabia.
The Brazilian forward was visibly star-struck when the five-time Ballon d'Or winner paid a visit.
Joao Felix (loaned to Chelsea)
It is safe to say Ronaldo has had the biggest impact on footballers coming from Portugal, and it is no secret Joao Felix adores the veteran striker.
The one-time Benfica darling was once touted as the next Ronaldo and it is unsurprising that he has a soft spot for a true Portuguese legend.
Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United)
Garnacho will be cut as an outlier on this list considering his country of origin - Argentina - and current club - where Ronaldo is more or less seen as a divisive figure.
Despite the prevailing circumstances which hitherto should sway his love, the 18-year-old continues to profess his love for the Al-Nassr man in a grand way. He took to social media to voice his emotions, after sharing the pitch with Ronaldo for the first time.
Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
One of the fast-rising forwards in the Premier League, Martinelli is having an outstanding campaign with Arsenal this term.
He has been devastating operating on the flanks in the Gunners' title charge, which can be traced back to his admiration for Ronaldo's style of play.
Raheem Sterling (Chelsea)
Perhaps the most surprising name on this list, Raheem Sterling has played for Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
The Englishman is a multiple Premier League winner, who also holds Ronaldo in high esteem.
Reece James (Chelsea)
Surely Reece James should not have been on this list, primarily because of his profile as a defender. But the athletic fullback has always been a big Ronaldo fan, to the point of choosing the Portuguese captain ahead of Lionel Messi.
The 22-year-old once said, “Cristiano Ronaldo. Even as a Chelsea man, I have always looked up to him and idolised him. He has won so many trophies and so many honours.”
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
The biggest Ronaldo fan, who does not shy away from making public his love for the ex-Madrid superstar, is none other than Kylian Mbappe.
The Frenchman's affection for the superstar is indescribable. The 24-year-old, often touted as the heir-apparent to Ronaldo's crown, loves the Portuguese to bits.
Mbappe unflinching in Ronaldo admiration
Sports Brief earlier reported that former Paris Saint-Germain forward, Jese Rodriquez has opened up about Mbappe's unreserved admiration for his idol, Ronaldo.
The Frenchman has not shied away from making public his idol, and was within a whisker of walking in the footsteps of Ronaldo last summer.
Buttressing Mbappe's admiration for Real Madrid and their former icon, Rodriguez - who also played for Los Blancos - revealed more about the impression of Ronaldo on the PSG star.