The Montpellier striker is grateful that he got the chance to work with a five-time Ballon d’Or winner at the Allianz Stadium
Ex-Arsenal youngster Stephy Mavididi has credited Cristiano Ronaldo for aiding his development, admitting that training with the Juventus superstar “helped me so much”.
Mavididi spent five years making his way through Arsenal’s youth ranks before graduating to the senior squad in 2016, but struggled to force his way into Arsene Wenger’s plans thereafter.
The former England Under-20 international was sent out on loan to Charlton Athletic twice and Preston North End once before being sold to Juventus on a permanent deal in 2018 – initially joining the Italian giant’s reserves set-up.
Mavididi was handed his first-team debut a year later, but ultimately failed to establish himself as a regular, and was subsequently loaned to Ligue 1 outfit Dijon for the duration of the 2019-20 campaign.
The 22-year-old impressed enough to earn a €6 million move to Montpellier in the summer transfer window, where he is finally beginning to fulfil his potential after been handed the opportunity to play week in, week out.
Mavididi has scored twice in 11 Ligue appearances to help Michel Der Zakarian’s side rise to fifth in the standings, and he will be in line to feature once again when reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain arrive at Stade de la Mosson on Saturday.
The talented young forward claims he soaked up a lot of valuable experience working alongside Ronaldo in Turin, which has helped him transform into the player he is today.
“It was a privilege to even train with him. It’s helped me so much,” Mavididi told The Guardian of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“It’s not even about going up to him and asking him questions. You just watch him and you learn.”
The former Gunners striker went on to explain why he failed to make the grade at Emirates Stadium, before insisting that leaving England proved to be a blessing in disguise.
“I tend not to look at the regrets because if I had stayed at Arsenal then I probably wouldn’t be where I am now,” he said.
“When you’re at these big clubs, you’ve got to have everything going in your favour – you need a manager who is willing to play you, some luck and maybe if there’s some injuries or suspensions – and that’s not always the case in football.
“Moving abroad gave me a fresh start. It helped me to discover a different way of living and playing football at a very good level instead of dropping down the leagues.”
Mavididi added on his desire to make a mark at international level: ”My ultimate goal is to get into England’s senior team, but for now the best pathway is the Under-21s so I want to try and get into that squad.
“We have a very exciting generation of players and I feel like I’m part of that.”