Belfast Telegraph

Jota hopes to be pitch-perfect for Wolves

The midfielder was a member of the Portugal group which won the UEFA Nations League earlier this summer.

Diogo Jota has been singing for Cristiano Ronaldo (Nigel French/PA)
Diogo Jota has been singing for Cristiano Ronaldo (Nigel French/PA)

Cristiano Ronaldo believes Diogo Jota is the best player in the Portugal squad – at singing.

The Wolves midfielder was a member of the Portugal group which won the UEFA Nations League earlier this summer.

The 22-year-old did not get to win his first cap but he certainly made an impression in other ways, not least on five-time world player of the year Ronaldo at his initiation ceremony.

Jota said: “We had to do a song and he said I was the best. I was very proud of that!”

Despite not playing, Jota believes he will take much from the experience, particularly working alongside Ronaldo.

He said: “It was a short tournament but you still have the chance to feel the international games, that pressure. And it was in our own country so you feel it a little bit more.

“You can learn with those players, like Cristiano, who are used to these kind of games.

“During my childhood I watched him on TV as a kind of reference for me. Now I have the opportunity to play with him and of course I tried to learn off him as much as possible.

“The way he works – even when the training has finished he will go to do sprint work, or do gym work before training. That kind of thing is what you can learn. That’s a normal day for him.”

Jota was one of four Wolves players in the Portugal squad along with Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves  and Joao Moutinho, team-mates he also looks up to.

The former Atletico Madrid player said: “Four players in the squad – same as Benfica. Nobody could have thought that a club in a foreign country could have so many players in the national team.

“Joao, Rui and even Ruben were working with the national team a long time before me and that helped me get involved in the process and the environment.”

Jota was speaking to media in Shanghai, where Wolves are preparing for this week’s Premier League Asia Trophy.

They play Newcastle in Nanjing on Wednesday before facing West Ham or Manchester City back in Shanghai on Saturday.

After last season’s seventh-placed finish, there is a lot of positivity around the club.

Jota said: “It was a great season but our fans are always expecting more. We need to think it’s possible to build on it but we know how hard it is so we have to keep our feet on the ground and try to build on it.”

Away from training and match preparation, Wolves’ players have also been heavily involved in the club’s marketing push in China. Wolves have a Chinese owner and are keen to tap into the country’s football market.

Already this week players have attended the opening of a club megastore and a fashion show where a new range of Wolves-branded clothing was launched. A Wolves-labelled beer is also now available in China.

Jota said: “I’ve been surprised that there is Wolves everywhere – at training, the hotel, even the party on Monday night.

“I went to the fashion show. It’s not my way to dress – but I respect their work!”

PA

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