Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold has insisted will not be overawed by lining up against Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo when the two sides meet in the Champions League final.
The 19-year-old right back and academy graduate is set to become the youngest Liverpool player to ever start a European Cup final and the teenager is aware that his greatest challenge in a red shirt lies in Kiev in less than two weeks’ time.
Real Madrid will play their fourth final in the Champions League in five years and have at their disposal a five-time Ballon d’Or winner in Ronaldo – a player Alexander-Arnold admits to having watched on YouTube in his earlier years.
“With Ronaldo being one of the greats, probably one of the best players ever, it’s going to be an honour to hopefully play against him,” Alexander-Arnold told the Liverpool Echo.
“You know a lot about him and the likes of [Lionel] Messi because you watch them on YouTube when you’re growing up. You always watch those type of players.
“You’ve just got to focus on the game and if he’s a direct opponent you have to see what the strengths and weaknesses are and use them to your advantage.
“I want to challenge myself and test myself against the best players in the world and there’s not many people better than the likes of Ronaldo. It will be a huge test for everyone and hopefully we come out on top.”
When asked if he was ever a fan of Ronaldo growing up, Alexander-Arnold said: “Yeah, I suppose so. Not when he was playing for Man United though!
“You have to admit he’s an unbelievable player and he’s done exceptional things in the game. The numbers that he does season in, season out are absolutely unbelievable. Come May 26 we’ll be looking to stop him and the rest of Real Madrid.
“Obviously Real Madrid are a very strong team, no matter who you’re going to play against it’s going to be one of the best players in the world because that’s the nature of the team they have.”
Alexander-Arnold has made 32 appearances for Liverpool this season and with his 20th birthday not until October, the right back is set to takes David Fairclough’s title as the youngest player to have started a European Cup final by some margin as Fairclough was 21 years and 125 days when he lined up at Wembley in 1978.
With his improvement and importance to the side clear to see, the 19-year-old credited the trust Jurgen Klopp has handed him in his first full season at Anfield.
He added: “There’s a lot of trust there in the club at the moment and I’m feeling the trust.
“I’m really enjoying playing when I get the chance to play and more often than not I’ve played this season. I’m really pleased with how it’s gone this season and I want to play the last game as well.”