Game recognize game.
Cyle Larin has taken to La Liga like a duck to water, and the Canadian men’s national team striker is now drawing high praise from one of the game’s legendary modern strikers.
Iconic Brazilian star Ronaldo, who is the majority owner and president of Larin’s club Real Valladolid, piled praise on the Bramptonian’s impact in just a few short months in Spain.
“He came and started to score goals, we are very happy with him,” the legendary striker told TSN’s Matthew Scianitti, speaking at the unveiling of the FIFA World Cup logo and branding on Wednesday. “I hope he can keep scoring… He performs very well, he is one of our best players, and of course [we would like to see] him continue with us.”
Hearing such a prestigious player, one of the greatest strikers of all time, call Larin one of his most important players is pretty cool for Canadian ears, particularly given the frustrations around Larin’s lack of game time in the first half of this season at Club Brugge.
And the respect between the two players is certainly mutual.
“A guy who has played at the top level and won the World Cup, one of the best strikers to ever play the game. To play under him is exciting,” Larin told MLSsoccer.com’s Jon Arnold this week. “I just have to keep scoring goals, and he’ll be happy.”
Real Valladolid are in action on Friday to kick off the La Liga weekend with an important game away at Cádiz, the club who looked likely to sign Larin in January. Spanish reports had suggested a move to the Andalusian side was “one step away” before it ultimately broke down, reportedly over differing financial valuations between Cádiz, Club Brugge, and Larin.
The 28-year-old ultimately joined Valladolid instead, and now has the chance to add to his seven goals and two assists in 15 La Liga games against the team that wanted to sign him. It’s a huge, huge game: Valladolid and Cádiz are level on 35 points, one point outside the relegation zone with four games left apiece. Valladolid are in 17th, behind Frday’s opponents on goal difference.
Put simply, they need to win, but they absolutely need to not lose in the intense pressure of a relegation battle, the first of Larin’s career.
“It’s different,” he admitted to Arnold. “I’ve fought for championships before, now I’m fighting to stay out of relegation and help the team stay up. The fans and the atmosphere is nice and wonderful. They push us every game, and the next few games are very important for us to stay up.