Romelu Lukaku has shed light on how he idolised former Inter Milan and Brazil striker Adriano when he was growing up.
The Brazilian striker, who averaged a goal every two games for his country, is widely seen as one of the greatest what-might-have-been talents in the modern era after personal problems curtailed his career.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic also insisted that Adriano was the best forward he played with throughout his career.
And Lukaku, speaking earlier this week, noted that Adriano was his idol growing up as a youngster.
“I have a good relationship with people from Brazil,” he said.
“And I really like Brazilian players. When I was little, Adriano was my great idol. Because when I was little, I had the same qualities as him.
“Very strong, shooting with the left was the same. I hope he’s going to play again because he’s a good player. For me he’s an idol. I like him a lot.”
I remember viewing Adriano at the 2005 Confederations Cup, during which he won the Golden Boot, with a strange mixture of fear and adoration. He was so bustling, so brutish, so bullishly rapid all over the pitch and lethal in the box that I could almost feel his footsteps in my living room, such was his ubiquity and raw strength.
No wonder Lukaku, even to this day, remembers his talent fondly. There are elements to his game which align strongly with the Brazilian: an instinctive approach in the box, an ability to bully and outpace defenders, a sense of quiet yet driven focus about his demeanour.
But there is one difference supporters will hope forms between the pair: that the Belgian, unlike his idol, can continue to progress throughout his career.