Ronaldo stature the lure for Kane

Zidane, Pochettino laud form of Tottenham star as Spurs, Real square off in Europe clash

MADRID • Harry Kane is an admitted follower of Cristiano Ronaldo's stratospheric statistics as he pursues the Portuguese player's status as the best in the world, but for once it is Ronaldo who trails in the race to be the Champions League's top marksman.

An inspired Kane, 24, has transformed Tottenham's European form from last season's failure to a flying start with five of Spurs' six goals in victories over Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia.

The acid test for Kane and his team-mates comes at the Santiago Bernabeu today, where holders Real Madrid and Ronaldo lie in wait, having dismissed Dortmund and Apoel themselves, thanks to four goals from the World Player of the Year.

"For sure it is a chance to measure ourselves. We are facing the best team in the world," Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino told Spanish radio station Cope.

"We are a young team with many internationals, but not so much experience of playing these types of games. It is a fundamental test."

Pochettino has fallen head over heels for Kane, conceding his wife was jealous of his repeated declarations of "love" for the English international.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo at a training session in Madrid yesterday. He is poised to start the Champions League clash against Spurs, having scored his first LaLiga goal of the season last Saturday.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo at a training session in Madrid yesterday. He is poised to start the Champions League clash against Spurs, having scored his first LaLiga goal of the season last Saturday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"He is one of the most in-form strikers in the world for sure. The numbers speak for themselves," added Pochettino.

  • 5

  • Goals Harry Kane has scored in two Champions League games this season, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kane's 13-goal haul last month matched the best-ever goalscoring month by Lionel Messi or Ronaldo.

"I want to be one of the best players in the world, so when people put stuff up and I see I am close to those players, it is a great incentive to get even closer and go to the next step," Kane said.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane also sang Kane's praises at his pre-match conference yesterday.

"He is a very important player and key player for Tottenham," the Frenchman said, according to ESPN. "He is very good at everything, but what he does well is that he always goes towards the goal and his speed is very good.

"He is a complete player. But Tottenham are not just Kane - they are a very good team and we are going to prepare very well. It will be a good game between two strong teams. It will be the group final."

Ronaldo is poised to start the clash, having scored his first LaLiga goal of the season in Saturday's 2-1 win over Getafe.

"I am very happy for him," Zidane added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Ronaldo stature the lure for Kane'. Print Edition | Subscribe