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I’m former Cristiano Ronaldo team-mate now playing in EFL, every day he’d turn up with a car I’d never seen in my life

STEPHY MAVIDIDI will not be overawed at the prospect of facing Chelsea’s billion-pound squad at Stamford Bridge.

The Leicester winger grew used to rubbing shoulders with football royalty when he was a team-mate of Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.

Stephy Mavididi and Cristiano Ronaldo were team-mates at Juventus

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Stephy Mavididi and Cristiano Ronaldo were team-mates at JuventusCredit: Getty
Ronaldo's car collection blew Mavididi away during their time as team-mates

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Ronaldo’s car collection blew Mavididi away during their time as team-matesCredit: Getty

Although he made only one Serie A appearance for Juve, during their title winning season in 2018-19, he would not have swapped his two years with the Italian giants for the world.

Derby-born Mavididi, 25, learned his trade working alongside the Turin superstars in training.

He said: “It was a really good experience, sharing a changing room with all these world-class players.

“It wasn’t a bad group — we had Cristiano Ronaldo, Douglas Costa, Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Miralem Pjanic — I could be here all day naming all the great players.

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“They were hard workers as well  and seeing how they conducted themselves in training, travelling to games, in hotels, was an education.

“It made me grow in confidence, knowing I was competing alongside and against these world-class players, it was really enjoyable.”

Mavididi might have made more first-team appearances for Juventus if he did not have to compete with a five-times Ballon d’Or winner playing in his position.

He said: “Cristiano invented his own position, he played wherever he wanted to play.

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“It was crazy having him as a team-mate. When he’s on your team in training you’re going to win — whether it’s a small-sided game or crossing and finishing.

“But when you play against him it’s a nightmare because he’s just so good in every aspect of the game.

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“You can’t just look at a world-class player and say, ‘I’ll copy him’. Everyone’s different and you have got to discover what works best for you.”

Ronaldo’s raw  talent got him to  the pinnacle of world football — but away from the pitch it was a different kind of ‘roar’ that made him stand out from other superstar footballers.

Mavididi revealed: “Every day he’d turn up for training in a different car — cars we’d never seen in our life.

“They were all spectacular sports cars, top of the range. I remember once he went to Monaco for the grand prix.

“The next day he turned up in this unbelievable McLaren sports car, we hadn’t seen anything like it.

“I think people used to give him cars to sample and he had an incredible collection of his own.

“But at the end of the day, he’s just a normal guy when you get to know him. I used to see him at work, in a professional environment, just a guy turning up for work and doing his job!”

Mavididi seized the opportunity to sign for Juve after kicking off his senior career with Arsenal as a kid.

Mavididi spent two years in Italy with Juventus

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Mavididi spent two years in Italy with JuventusCredit: Getty

He added: “It was kinda bitter-sweet because I’d been at Arsenal for eight years, they were my club.

“But my agent said, ‘It’s not everyday you get an opportunity like this — you don’t want to look back one day and have any regrets’.

“I took Italian lessons and got used to the culture — the different times of day they eat — but my main focus was to do well on the pitch.”

It was that desire to prove himself that took Mavididi on loan to Dijon in France, before making a permanent move to Montpellier where he was a huge hit.

So much so that he beat Chris Waddle’s record to become the Englishman with the most Ligue 1 appearances. The Foxes ace said: “I played a lot of games there, more than the 107 Chris Waddle played, which was nice.

“France was a great experience until my third year when I began to get really homesick.

“You know that feeling when you feel like you’ve just been on holiday that bit too long and you want to get home?

“I had a daughter during that time and I wanted to come home for her too. It was the right time.

The 25-year-old is now starring in the Championship with Leicester

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The 25-year-old is now starring in the Championship with LeicesterCredit: Getty

“My aim now is to play in the Premier League with Leicester.”

First, the Foxes have today’s crucial quarter-final with Chelsea and Mavididi admits it is crazy that this will be his first ever FA Cup tie — and a win would see him play in a Wembley semi-final.

He added: “I’ve never played at Wembley, I’ve never even been for a cup final or England international.

“Playing there would mean a lot to me, I won’t lie. Now it’s one win away and I want to make it happen.”

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