Henrikh Mkhitaryan has shed light on how he used to dream about playing for Manchester United as a youngster.
The Armenian, following a sensational season at Borussia Dortmund, was brought to Old Trafford for a fee of £27m back in July.
He was initially consigned to anonymity under Jose Mourinho, spending almost three months on the sidelines, but has since been a mesmerising force in attacking midfield, claiming eight goals.
And Mkhitaryan, speaking to Inside United, noted that it had always been a dream to play for a club of United’s magnitude.
“I can say that most people did not believe in me,” he said.
“They were just laughing and thinking that what I used to say was crazy and I would not reach this level. I had a dream to play for one of the best football clubs in the world. And that is what I am doing now.”
You can see why people initially doubted Mkhitaryan’s credentials as a footballer. The Armenian grew up in far from ideal circumstances, moving between his homeland of Armenia and France during a time of conflict as the Soviet Union collapsed. And he was, as he is now, a diminutive figure, hampered by an array of rough challenges from bigger, rougher opponents.
The potential was always there, of course, but only fully realised during a three month spell in Brazil, where the 28-year-old honed his technical bravado to a point where, at the age of 16, he was only going to improve and inflict damage at every turn.