Florian Kamberi reveals Cristiano Ronaldo inspiration as Rangers loanee opens up on role model

The pitter-patter running style, the step-overs as well as the well-groomed appearance. When Florian Kamberi says he did not support a football team when he was younger but rather followed Cristiano Ronaldo, it should not really come as a surprise.

Florian Kamberi led the line for Rangers in the win over Braga in Portugal. Picture: Luis Vieira/AP

The on-loan Hibs striker, who turns 25 next week, impressed in the homeland of his hero on his first start as Rangers became the first side to book a place in the last 16 of the Europa League with a 1-0 win over Braga on Wednesday night.

While clearly lacking Ronaldo’s alertness and finishing prowess – he strays offside too often for one thing while he was also guilty of missing a clearcut chance in the opening minutes – Kamberi has plainly adopted the Juventus star’s willingness to work for the team. He is also remarkably self-assured, something else that recalls you-know-who.

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“I didn’t have a particular team I supported when I was growing up but I really admired Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Kamberi. “I admired his mentality and the way he worked and everything and tried to look to him and his work ethic.

“He was playing for Manchester United when I first admired him and then Real Madrid and now Juventus.”

Kamberi doesn’t appear to have been affected by the fallout from the comments made after he joined Rangers. Seeming to forget he was still signed to Hibs, he described the Rangers fans as the best in the world and stressed he had wanted to play for them since sampling Ibrox for the first time early in his Hibs career.

He remains in thrall to Rangers – maybe unsurprisingly since they are providing him with opportunities to play in the latter stages of the Europa League.

“It was a special night and to qualify was unbelievable for me and the team,” said Kamberi. “I had a chance early on and if I had executed it perfectly then it would have been a goal but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who scores, we are through. That’s the most important thing.

“It’s a dream of every ambitious footballer to play in European football and Rangers offers that,” he added. “It was a perfect opportunity and I’ve been delighted since day one and things are going well so I hope it continues.”

Frustratingly for him, he is now cup-tied for tomorrow’s Scottish Cup clash with Hearts at Tynecastle. “I can’t change that and I’ll just recover, train and prepare for Hamilton at home,” he said.

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