Ghana right-back Harrison Afful has reflected on facing Portugal ace Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
After watching the Black Stars’ tournament opener from the bench, the Columbus Crew defender was handed starting berths against Germany and Portugal.
It was in the must-win last match that Afful, then on the books of Tunisian club Esperance, came up against the new Juventus signing.
“Coming from Tunisia, nobody knowing me and then I went straight to the World Cup — it was something great. Playing the whole thing was special to me,” Afful told his club’s official website.
“[The World Cup] introduced me to big players. No one gets that opportunity [often and] when you do, you are humble, respectful and grateful. I think you can go far and meet good people and nice people. I appreciate that.
“Playing against Ronaldo is something big. I told myself there’s nothing to lose because he is already there and I am just an up-and-coming star.
“This was a good opportunity for me to play my game and help my nation, so that’s what I did and I think I did it well.”
Despite Afful and the Black Stars’ determination, Ronaldo still managed to score to help his side to a 2-1 win.
It marked the end of Ghana’s poorest World Cup campaign in history, having lost 2-1 and drawn 2-2 with the USA and Germany in their opening two games, and finishing bottom of the table.
“It is every player’s ambition to play in the biggest stage, most importantly the World Cup. I trained very hard and I was willing to play all the games,” Afful added.
“When we got there, there were ups and downs. I was not able to start the first game against the U.S but that didn’t stop me.
“I kept doing my own thing — making sure I did what I know how to do best and listened to what the technical team had for me on and off the field.
“I told myself I needed to work hard and make sure I played in the next game. When I didn’t start, everyone was talking in Ghana ‘Why didn’t I start’ because the right back at that time wasn’t fit and he wasn’t training fully.”