Ahead of derby day on Sunday, City star Robinho has confessed he used to watch Manchester United play when he was a kid and that Ruud van Nistelrooy was his hero. Probably not what the bluenoses wanted to hear.

“United are a club known all around the world,” said Robinho. “No matter where you grow up, if you love football then you’ll know about Manchester United. I saw United matches on TV as a kid in Sao Paulo. I loved watching Ruud van Nistelrooy. He was a hero for me because of the way he scored goals in all competitions. He’s such an intelligent striker and I have tried to copy his technique to improve my game even though we are not similar players. When I signed for Real Madrid, it was like a dream. I walked into the changing room and there was one of my football heroes. I feel very lucky that I got to play with a guy who I worshipped from far away and I am very proud to call him my friend. We still stay in touch and speak on the phone very often.”

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