Kasper Schmeichel idolised Ryan Giggs when he was a child, but the Denmark goalkeeper is ready to ruin his hero’s Nations League dreams in Friday’s clash against Wales.
Schmeichel has known Giggs since he was a child, when his father Peter was team-mates with the current Wales manager in the Manchester United teams of the 1990s.
But Leicester star Schmeichel will be standing in Giggs’ way in Cardiff when Wales and Denmark battle for top spot in their group and the prize of Nations League promotion.
“Ryan Giggs is an idol. I don’t think there’s any other words for him,” Schmeichel told reporters on Thursday.
“What he achieved at Manchester United, and what he achieved in football, is unparallelled. He’s someone I’ve known since I can remember from my time living in England.
“I watched him countless times at The Cliff (United’s former training ground) with my dad, and he’s someone I’ve admired right through my career.
“If anyone could have a fraction of the career he’s had they would be very happy.
“He’s always been really supportive every time I’ve met him, he’s been nothing but a gentleman.”
Schmeichel could take over the Denmark captaincy at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Sevilla defender Simon Kjaer absent due to a hamstring injury.
But it will be an emotional return to Wales for Schmeichel.
It was less than two weeks ago that Leicester played their first game in Cardiff following the death of Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter accident.
“It’s still very raw and everyone at the club is working hard through it,” Schmeichel said.
“It’s the same with the national team, everyone has been supportive. But it is what it is and just a matter of taking each day at a time.”