CRISTIANO Ronaldo heads to the Aviva stadium this Thursday with the Portuguese National team as Ireland host the five time Ballon d’Or winner in the European Qualifications.
However, a namesake of one of the greatest ever players is making headlines in his homeland with Cristiano Fitzgerald on the brink of the Boavista first team.
The teenager has strong familial connections to Limerick, with the Irish U19 international telling Portuguese outlet MaisFutebol about returning home to his family farm in Limerick.
“I have Ireland in my heart. My father (James) is from there, he was a good hurling player – a traditional Gaelic sport – and I go every summer to my grandparents’ farm in Limerick, where I am with my cousins.”
And according to his dad, who was once a promising hurler who played at underage level for Limerick, Fitzgerald is both French and Irish in equal measure.
Already on the verge of the first team in Boavista, Fitzgerald only moved to Portugal four years ago after leaving Singapore.
Boavista’s Irish star can run at 35.27km per hour which would put him in top 10 in the world for speed and has him involved in Irish underage squads.
He was brought in by Ireland Under-19 head coach Tom Mohan in May for a training camp at Loughborough University, where the attacking midfielder/left-winger lined out against Nottingham Forest’s Under-23s.
Touching on his striking name, Fitzgerald insists his father had never heard of the current Manchester United star with the younger Cristiano saying they “chose well”!
“My dad’s a Manchester United fan. My mother was six months pregnant with me, and knew it was going to be a boy. Since she’s French, she wanted to look for a Latin name for me. That’s when my father saw a boy named Cristiano play his first game for United.
“My father had never heard of him, but he heard the name and called my mother, ‘What do you think of the name Cristiano?’. My mother loved it. “They had no idea that Cristiano Ronaldo would become so famous. My parents chose well.”