The Nigerian midfielder has explained the 40-year-old played a significant role in his development
Crystal Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze has revealed the role former Barcelona star Ronaldinho played in his growth.
The 22-year-old is fast becoming famous for his dribbling ability, creating goals and his spectacular strikes.
The Nigerian midfielder got a big break in his career when he was signed by Premier League side Crystal Palace from Queen Park Rangers where he spent four years.
Eze has since been outstanding for the Eagles, scoring three breathtaking goals and providing three assists in 22 appearances across all competitions.
The midfielder revealed he gets his inspiration from watching video clips of Ronaldinho and how playing ‘cage football’ impacted his playing style.
“We would come home from school, go on the computer and just type in Ronaldinho,” Eze told Daily Mail.
“He’s a player I have watched pretty much every day from maybe the age of seven, eight, with my brothers on the computer watching YouTube videos and whatever he is doing.
“The same videos over and over again on Ronaldinho and how he played. There’s probably not a video of him you could show me that I haven’t seen before. Even now I type in Ronaldinho and watch him. That’s how much impact he’s had on me. He was an inspiration.
“Growing up watching Ronaldinho, he is the perfect example of an entertainer. Of course, I don’t play the same as him or anything like that but it is just having that idea of ‘I want to enjoy myself.
“And while I’m enjoying myself, I’m positive I will be entertaining people as well while also being as effective as I can as a footballer for my team.
“There are things, in terms of the way you’re brought up, the resilience you get from playing in the cage, from experiencing different things that it numbs the feeling of someone else’s opinion on you.
“I play football because I have fun doing it and I’m so grateful I have got this as a job. That for me is the most important thing.
“As long as I’m enjoying it, the stats and all that type of stuff will come as well. You do a lot of learning in the academies and get exposed to different types of players. That had a huge impact on me. But you can’t take anything away from the cage.
“You see in south London especially the amount of talent that has come out from playing in cages. There’s no judgement from any coaches, no scrutiny from anyone. You are just literally enjoying yourself which is what you want to do and as high a level as you can.”
Eze will be expected to make his 22nd Premier League appearance when Crystal Palace take on Burnley on Saturday.