Friday 19 May 2017, 04:02

Cisneros, the third Ronaldo

  • Cisneros finished as top goalscorer at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship

  • He was named 'Ronaldo' as a tribute to the famous Brazilian forward

  • The gifted attacker is a product of Santos Laguna's successful youth set-up

Ronaldo Cisneros owes his first name to Il Fenomeno, the “original” Ronaldo, but he is also a keen admirer of Cristiano Ronaldo, and there is currently a book on the life of Lionel Messi sitting on the nightstand in his hotel in Daejeon. As someone who lives for finding the back of the net, he knows a good goalscorer when he sees one. And he hopes to demonstrate his own penalty-box prowess at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017, where he and his Mexico team-mates will take on Vanuatu on Saturday.

“What’s unique about being a striker is that when you score, you finish off all the work your team-mates have put in, you contribute to your team’s victory, and you make a lot of people really happy,” the young Mexican told He was able to achieve all three of those objectives at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, where he topped the tournament scoring charts with six goals and helped his country to qualify for Korea Republic 2017.

Can he have the same impact at the U-20 World Cup? He is certainly not lacking in confidence, having recently put on record his belief that Mexico could lift the prestigious trophy on 11 June in Suwon.

“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: we’re here to win this U-20 World cup, because we’ve got a great team, we have talented players, and we’re unified and committed – I see that at every training session,” he said. “We’re desperate to make a name for ourselves, and because of that we can compete with anyone, but obviously we’ll take one game at a time and approach them all with humility.”

Cisneros, one of the most promising players to emerge from Santos Laguna’s youth academy, has practically been celebrating goals since the moment he came into the world in 1997. His father was a fan of Brazil legend Ronaldo, who was making waves at Barcelona at the time. “He liked the name and decided to give it to me,” said the precocious forward. “I first got to know Ronaldo through videos that my dad showed me, especially when he played at Inter Milan, and of course, I still watch clips of him to learn from the very best.”

After so many viewings, he felt as if some of what he had seen had rubbed off on him. “I have the same nose for goal that Ronaldo had, as well as some of the power he was known for,” said the 20-year-old attacker. “But my main qualities are my movement and my ability to get away from my marker. Having good movement off the ball is an essential part of football. I’m also capable of making the most of any chances that come my way.”

As for any potential weaknesses in his game, he admits that he needs to keep working on his headers. But if he fails to make progress in that area, it will not be for lack of trying. What he appreciates most about another one of his idols, Cristiano Ronaldo, upon whom he lavishes praise on social media, is his professionalism. “It just shows you that when you put time and effort into something you love, you’ll always get positive results,” he explained. “Talent alone is never enough.”

He acquired his own work ethic as a child growing up in an unassuming family in Torreon, with parents who would go out of their way to provide for him and his siblings. “I have great memories from that time; they remind me of where I've come from and where I’m going,” he said.

A big fan of reading, a hobby he indulges in “for the peace and quiet, and to learn new things”, Cisneros made his Liga MX debut for Los Guerreros three years ago, but he still only has 127 minutes of play under his belt. Nevertheless, he is confident that Korea Republic 2017 will serve as a springboard for him. “I know that I’ll get more playing opportunities after the U-20 World Cup,” he concluded.

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