Marcus Rashford said he was a five-year-old spectator at Old Trafford when Real knocked Manchester United out of the 2003 Champions League quarter-finals. Photo: Reuters
Marcus Rashford said he was a five-year-old spectator at Old Trafford when Real knocked Manchester United out of the 2003 Champions League quarter-finals. Photo: Reuters
Ronaldo's exploits in a Champions League game for Real Madrid captured the attention of Marcus Rashford. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP
Ronaldo's exploits in a Champions League game for Real Madrid captured the attention of Marcus Rashford. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

Watching Brazilian striker Ronaldo score a Champions League hat trick for Real Madrid against Manchester United 14 years ago provided a lasting inspiration for Marcus Rashford, the England forward said on Monday.

Speaking before England host Brazil in a friendly at Wembley on Tuesday, Rashford said he was a five-year-old spectator at Old Trafford when Real knocked United out 6-5 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

After the game, he and his brother Dwaine began scouring YouTube for clips of the Brazilian.

“It’s all those clips... and my first ever game that I saw live, he was playing in it. I always remember it. It was in 2003 and he scored a hat trick,” Rashford, who has netted seven times for United in all competitions this season, told British media.

Rashford came in for high praise from Ronaldo in the build-up to last year’s European Championships, when the Brazilian World Cup winner said the 20-year-old Englishman reminded him of his younger self.

“He was my brother’s favourite player – that’s why I’ve grown up watching so much of him and his games... So when you know he’s saying good things about you, then it really stands out,” Rashford said.

England, who won eight of their 10 World Cup qualifying games and were unbeaten in Group F, held world champions Germany to a goalless draw in a friendly on Friday.