Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has suggested he is still far from reaching his prime as a footballer, using the example set by Cristiano Ronaldo.
After suffering a season interrupted by a serious calf injury last year, Jota has impressed in the early stages of the 2023/24 campaign.
At 26, it might be expected that Jota is now right at the peak of his powers, but the forward has insisted he is hoping to keep on improving for many years to come – drawing inspiration for a certain Portugal teammate.
“You have a lot of energy when you are young but you still do a lot of mistakes and you always learn with experience,” he told Liverpoolfc.com as part of Kodansha’s InspiRED series.
“I always look up to [Cristiano] Ronaldo, for example, and I think he scored more goals since he has been over 30 than before he was 30, so that shows as well it’s doable. It also means if you are 26 you can be away from your prime and that’s what I expect – and that’s what I work for as well every day.”
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging interview, Jota also revealed what Jurgen Klopp told him upon signing for Liverpool back in 2020.
Apparently already undaunted by the prospect of joining one of the world's best forward lines, including Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Jota explained how the manager's words fuelled his belief even further.
Is Diogo Jota Liverpool's most underrated player? pic.twitter.com/GNxTNuWwub
“Everyone was mentioning the front three, the best front three in the world,” Jota said.
“Everyone is expecting me to [be a substitute] but in my mind I know I can challenge and that was one of the first things Jürgen said to me: ‘I want you here but I want you to fight for a spot in the starting XI.’
“For me, it was like: ‘I know that I want to do this, he is telling me that, so why not?’
“So, I just took it day by day, training and playing the best that I could whenever I stepped on the pitch. And I was lucky enough to score pretty much straight away against Arsenal and everything clicked from that point on.”