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Black History Month: My Football Icon with Curtis Davies

3 October 2022

October is Black History Month and we're celebrating the influence of black footballers throughout history by asking EFL players and managers about who inspired them.

In the first instalment, Derby County captain Curtis Davies looks back at a certain Brazilian superstar.

Despite being a centre-back by trade, the experienced Rams defender spent his early years trying to become the next Ronaldo, even going as far as giving himself a new look.

"He made an impact on my career because I wanted to be him," Davies explained. "I wasn't the only kid in the playground that wanted to be Ronaldo. I even once tried to get the haircut but my mum said no, so I had to cut it off."

In April 2003, Davies witnessed the Brazilian international bag a treble at the home of Manchester United in an aggregate Champions League victory for Real Madrid over the Reds.

But it was time in a Barcelona jersey that Davies looks upon fondly.

"It's the shirt I wanted to get when I was on holiday in Spain," he said. "He was a Brazilian international so back then, if you didn't support your own country, you'd support Brazil. Everyone wanted that yellow shirt and he was number nine which is the most iconic number you could have.

"My greatest memory of Ronaldo was at Old Trafford playing for Real Madrid. He scored a hat-trick and got a standing ovation from the home crowd. To be that good and that flawless in your performance that the home crowd clap you off the pitch, it shows his legendary status among football fans."


And Davies went on to praise the now-46-year-old's knack for finding the back of the net and his resilience in his career.

He added: "He was just such a special player; he was quick and skilful, and he was scoring goals for fun whenever he went, in Holland, Spain and Italy. What made him so special was his desire. Having watched him play, he was ruthless and he wanted to score goals. He wasn't selfish, though - he was a player that brought other people into the game. He had every single attribute of the game.

"The biggest compliment I can give him is coming back from serious injuries and doing his knee as bad as he did, to come back and still play at the very top level of the game with Real Madrid and winning World Cups, it's a massive thing. He's played in two World Cup Finals and played after an apparent fit in the 1998 World Cup Final which shows the character of him.

"Even now, I'd say to any young striker coming through to watch Ronaldo because he was ahead of his time."

Stay tuned for next week's edition of My Football Icon.

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