Portugal’s William Carvalho may play an entirely different role to Cristiano Ronaldo, but the holding midfielder still believes that he can learn a great deal from his superstar teammate.
With Ronaldo a doubt for the side’s World Cup opener against Germany on Monday, having been suffering with a knee injury since the end of the domestic season, Carvalho was reluctant to speak on his captain’s fitness but did note how vital the Real Madrid forward is to the team’s fortunes in Brazil.
‘I’m not the one to speak to on Cristiano Ronaldo’s physical condition. It should be the medical team to answer this, but he is extremely important for us,’ Carvalho said.
‘He’s our captain and the best in the world. He’s going to help the team with his experience and we’re counting on him to achieve our goal'.
‘I have one of the best players in the world in my national team and I’m certainly going to learn from him,’ he added.
‘He’s an example, but then I don’t want to follow the path of Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead, I want to make my own by always giving my best. Only the future knows what’s there for me.’
In his first season as a regular for Sporting Lisbon, Carvalho has quickly established himself as one of the top players in Portugal, with his dominant physical presence in the centre of the pitch and solid all-round game setting him apart in the Primeira Liga.
The 22-year-old only received his first international call-up in November last year for the World Cup play-off against Sweden, but has impressed manager Paulo Bento enough over the course of the campaign to earn a place in the final squad and even challenge for a spot in the starting lineup.
Seemingly contending with veteran Miguel Veloso, unless Bento moves away from his trusted 4-3-3 system in the absence of Ronaldo, Carvalho’s national team future remains bright regardless of whether he starts for the side in Brazil, but he could also be set for a big-money move on the club front this summer.
The emerging prospect has been tracked by a host of Premier League teams in the past, including Manchester United, who could well renew their interest in exercising his reported €45 million (£36m) release clause should he get the opportunity to impress with Portugal over the coming weeks.
Drawn in a tough group, with further games against the USA and Ghana, Carvalho’s side will be hoping that they can get off to good start against Germany in Salvador and the return of Ronaldo would undoubtedly give them the best chance of three points.
Either way, Carvalho is in no way guaranteed to line up alongside the reigning Ballon d’Or holder on the day, but that doesn’t mean he cannot learn a few things from him in the meantime, as the promising youngster anticipates his career taking another big step forward in the near future.