Cape Town - Everton forward Yannick Bolasie has revealed that he is using the inspiration of his hero Ronaldo as he works his way back to full fitness following a devastating knee injury.
Bolasie signed for the Toffees in the summer from Crystal Palace in a £29 million deal, but his early progress was halted when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Everton's 1-1 draw with Manchester United in December.
The injury cost Bolasie the chance to represent the Democratic Republic of Congo at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and he still faces the best part of a year on the sidelines as he recovers.
However, while the wideman has acknowledged that he's found it tough - mentally - to cope with being sidelined, he's revealed that the example of his hero Ronaldo has spurred him on to come back stronger from the setback.
"You can only stay positive and bounce back stronger. That's life. It happens to the best. My idol Ronaldo suffered a serious knee injury three times, but he still came back and did the business. That is my motivation," Bolasie told journalists, as reported by The Sun.
"It shows what you can achieve if you set your mind to it and do not allow injury to stop you."
Indeed, despite enduring a career which was ravaged by injury, Ronaldo will still be remembered as one of the finest players of all time, having won the World Cup twice and found the net 15 times at the Mondiale, placing him second in the all-time scorer charts behind Miroslav Klose.
However, Ronaldo’s career still remains a question of 'what might have been?', with the player suffering with regular injuries throughout his career.
He snapped a tendon in 1999 and was sidelined for five months, while he suffered a setback even worse than Bolasie’s recent injury when he ruptured a tendon and was ruled out for 15 months.
"These things tend to have a terrible effect on your state of mind," Bolasie continued. "I've seen many people go down with this injury and never come back, but when you are mentally strong you can deal with it."
Finally, the winger expressed optimism that he had the support network around him to bounce back from his devastating twist of fate.
"This is my first big injury and the toughest one but I’m lucky to know enough about my body," Bolasie added. "I'm speaking to the Everton fitness coach, the manager, the assistants, they help a lot.
"I need to be mentally strong to get through the different stages of rehab," he continued. "It's a slow process, but I know when I'll be back, so it's OK and I'm hand-ling it really well.
"I've got my family around me and that makes everything a lot easier.
"If this happened four years ago, it would have affected me. It could have left a mental scar," he concluded. "The manager has been helping, while doctors have given me information that will hopefully help me through my rehab."
Everton, currently in seventh, host Sunderland and former boss David Moyes in their next Premier League match on Saturday.
Kick off is at 17:00.