Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has revealed Real Madrid assistant Zinidine Zidane was his childhood hero.
Mkhitaryan is likely to line up tonight for Dortmund against Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu as the sides meet in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
The Armenia international has told AS that Zidane was his favourite player when he was growing up, but that he never tried to copy the World Cup winner.
“I first saw Madrid with Raul and he was the best. But then I saw Zidane…he was a great playmaker,” Mkhitaryan said.
“It’s totally true he was my idol as a child. I loved how he played and he was a great inspiration to me.
“But I never tried to copy or imitate his style. I’m happy being myself.”
Mkhitaryan joined Dortmund from Shakhtar Donetsk last summer and admitted he needed time to settle in to his new surroundings.
“It took me a while to get used to the team’s way of playing and to get used to the Bundesliga,” Mkhitaryan added.
“I played some good games and some not so good games. But I know I can play even better.”
Mkhitaryan is also looking forward to his first time playing at the Bernabeu.
“I really want to experience the atmosphere. We are used to an incredible atmosphere at Signal Iduna,” he continued.
“And now we are thrilled to play in such a legendary stadium in the quarter-finals. You don’t get an opportunity like this every day.”