“I try to imitate Cristiano Ronaldo” – This is the headline used in Pedro Neto’s interview with Portuguese newspaper O Jogo this weekend.
Signed by the Premier League side in a €18m deal from Lazio last summer, the 20-year-old is enjoying his first season in England, with four goals and four assists so far.
Neto has recently been praised by Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand, and that was the topic which opened the interview.
“Ferdinand was a great player, won many titles and has faced great players, so it’s very special and a source of pride to hear such compliments from him,” Pedro Neto told O Jogo.
“I work for that and to be the best. My statement is due to my effort, the help of all teammates and the work of all the technical staff at Wolverhampton. I tried to adapt quickly to the team’s way of playing and the physical football of the Premier League. It involves many back and forth and that is one of my characteristics. I’m a counterattack player and I fit the team’s style of play well. I feel really good right now.”
Asked about the future of Nuno Espírito Santo, he said: “A lot is said about the coach, but the team doesn’t think about it. He’s doing very well. We have a great deal of trust in the mister, just as he trusts us very much. We’re only focused on work.”
Quizzed if he has the wish to play for bigger clubs in the Premier League, Neto couldn’t hide his plans.
“I’m in a big club that already offers me a lot. I want to continue here, but I intend to take the leap. I want to reach top clubs to win titles or compete in the Champions League. There is nothing better than competing in the Champions League, the Europa League, the Euros or a World Cup. I want to try everything.”
Pedro Neto used to play for Braga’s youth ranks along with midfielder Francisco Trincão, who’s now set to move to Barcelona in a €30m deal. So O Jogo asked him if it could be him signing for the Catalan side now, if he hadn’t left the Portuguese club so early in his career.
“You never know how these things go. I would again make the same decision to go to Lazio. It’s true that I spent two difficult years at Lazio, but now, fortunately, I have the opportunity to show my football and I feel that I have improved a lot.”
Finally on his idol Cristiano Ronaldo, Neto said: “This is a separate case. I try to imitate him. If we want to be the best, we must imitate those who already are. I always did extra physical work, but now I do it more completely after setting up a gym at home”.