The beautiful game isn't one of the most popular sports in the world for nothing. Due to its obvious reach, football players are followed and looked up to all across the globe and their dedication, talent and charisma are all celebrated abundantly.
Kids who have kicked a ball will have at some point tried to fashion their game after their favourite players. Some of the biggest names in world football continue to be revered around the globe for a multitude of reasons.
It is then no surprise that some of the great footballing stars of today grew up idolizing their predecessors. Today, we take a look at 10 football stars and their footballing idols.
#10 Sergio Aguero - Michael Owen
Well, Michael Owen might not be the most popular football pundit or commentator around but in his heyday, the English striker was one of the most sought-after strikers in the world. He used to be one of the best strikers in the Premier League and was idolized by none other than Sergio Aguero, who is currently one of the best strikers in the English top-flight.
Aguero revealed in his autobiography that he grew up supporting Liverpool and idolizing Michael Owen.
"City fans might not want to hear it, but when I was a kid I wanted to be Owen. I've always liked Liverpool."
Owen scored 118 goals from 216 appearances for the Merseysiders in the Premier League. One of the most special goals of Owen's career came in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina.
That perhaps left an indelible mark in the mind of a young Sergio Aguero. Both Aguero and Owen are diminutive strikers and stood out playing in a role that has traditionally suited bigger players slightly better.
#9 Erling Haaland - Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Borussia Dortmund striker is one of the brightest young prospects in world football. The trigger hungry frontman is already one of the most lethal finishers in the world and his awkward interviews are a treat to watch.
Shortly after joining Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland revealed that he used to idolize Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a kid. He said,
"I had a lot of idols as a child. I have to mention two players: Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic,"
Haaland seems to have definitely taken a couple of leaves out of Zlatan's book when it comes to finding the back of the net and giving interviews.
#8 Manuel Neuer - Jens Lehmann
One of the best goalkeepers of his generation and arguably one of the best of all time, Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer's signature sweeping skills in addition to his obvious shot stopping abilities will go on to inspire many youngsters in the future.
Neuer, who recently put on a match-winning display in the final of the UEFA Champions League for Bayern Munich against Paris Saint-Germain, has revealed in the past that Jens Lehmann was his hero and that he used to admire Oliver Kahn and Edwin van der Saar as well.
Speaking to Adidas as part of their #BeTheDifference campaign back in 2014, Neuer said,
"I have a couple. Jens Lehmann was always my hero, because he played for Schalke, and he was a bit of a goalkeeping revolutionary - he played the game his own way.
There’s Oliver Kahn, who as a German keeper you have to respect massively for what he achieved. And I also liked Edwin van der Saar, and the way he played, very much,"
Jens Lehmann had an illustrious career playing for the likes of Schalke, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and VfB Stuttgart. He was also the goalkeeper for the famed Arsenal 'Invincibles' side.