Before Switzerland’s World Cup last-16 match against Portugal, Breel Embolo praised Cristiano Ronaldo as an inspiration and Kylian Mbappe as a role model.
Embolo has performed admirably for Switzerland in Qatar, scoring twice in the group stage.
That is one more goal than Ronaldo has scored, with the Portuguese captain scoring only once in their first game, a penalty shootout win over Ghana.
However, it did make Ronaldo the first man to score in five different World Cups, and Embolo is honored to have the opportunity to face the 37-year-old on the biggest stage.
“I think Cristiano is a wonderful inspiration and enrichment for our period, not just for forwards,” he stated at a press conference.
“Only from someone like him can you learn. It’s an honor to face him as a player and as a person.”
Mbappe has been in terrific form for France, scoring five goals to lead the chase for the Golden Boot, with his magnificent double against Poland on Sunday moving Les Bleus into a quarter-final against England.
Mbappe has already scored nine World Cup goals, the same as Lionel Messi and more than Cristiano Ronaldo (eight). He is the youngest player to score five knockout-stage goals in the competition since Brazil great Pele in 1958, at the age of 23 years and 349 days.
Mbappe is nearly two years older than Embolo, but the Monaco forward regards him as a role model.
“He’s amazing. “He’s 23 years old, he’s an amazing player, I know him from Ligue 1 and he’s a role model even for me,” Mbappe remarked.
“What he’s doing now is incredibly fantastic, so I’d like to congratulate him; he’s extraordinary.”
“Nine World Cup goals at the age of 23 speaks everything about him.” I wish him the best of luck and hope he scores nine more World Cup goals.”
Switzerland is seeking to win three games in a single World Cup competition for the first time in their history after a ferocious victory against Serbia to get to the last 16.
When asked if this was the most promising Swiss squad he has seen at a big tournament, Embolo said, “It’s like all generations, there is a change.” I’ve been a part of this group for six or seven years, so it’s difficult to claim this is the best generation.
“There have been extremely good players who have shown us how to integrate, such as Yann Sommer and Granit Xhaka.” It is critical to maintain these principles inside the team and to pass them on to the next generation.
“If I learnt anything, it’s that even though we had difficult periods in our lives or at our clubs, we were always together.”
This will be Portugal and Switzerland’s third meeting in 2022, after they met twice in the Nations League in June.
Portugal won 4-0 in Lisbon, before Switzerland won 1-0 a week later in Geneva.
“We’re prepared; the squad is complete.” “It’s a huge opportunity for us to make history for Switzerland; we’ve seen how excited the Swiss people are for us to be at this stage,” coach Murat Yakin said.
“Statistics and the past are irrelevant; we will concentrate on this game.” We are familiar with this opponent and have shown that we can defeat them. Everything else has passed.”