Christian Eriksen has named Francesco Totti and Michael Laudrup as two of his greatest footballing heroes, and while the latter is no surprise due to their shared nationality, the Italian is for a less obvious reason.
The Dane was unveiled as a Manchester United player on Tuesday, pictured in his new kit for the first time as he embarks on a new chapter in his career.
The 30-year-old has arrived at Old Trafford on a free transfer after making a remarkable recovery from the cardiac arrest he suffered at Euro 2020. He returned to football with Brentford and after an impressive six months with the Bees, the Red Devils have snapped him up.
While there may have been plenty of former Manchester United players who could have been Eriksen’s footballing heroes, he said it was Totti and Laudrup who inspired him more than most.
Michael Laudrup is one of the greats of Danish football, so that came naturally, but it was computer game Football Manager that turned Eriksen on to the Roma legend.
‘I had a few,’ Eriksen told the Manchester United official website when asked for his footballing heroes. ‘I had Francesco Totti – mostly because at that age I played a lot of Football Manager, so I had took over Roma back in that time!
‘And then after it was Michael Laudrup. As Danes I can pick Michael Laudrup, but I really wasn’t into many idols.
‘I preferred myself to be on the pitch and really just to be outside and play by myself.’
It is a rebuilding process that Eriksen has joined at Manchester United, but the former Tottenham man is not lacking ambition.
He reckons Erik ten Hag and his team will be aiming for the top, and will certainly be targeting some silverware in the Dutchman’s first season in charge.
‘I’m pretty sure the ambitions are, of course, to be top again,’ said Eriksen. ‘It’s the dream of the club and the history is now being the best, so I think the only aim is to go as high as possible and see where it takes us.
‘But I think the aim is definitely to win something.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.