Harry Kane believes he has only just reached half-time. It might appear a slightly dismissive, almost self-deprecating assessment of a career that's already seem him excel at Tottenham, become England's captain and all-time record goal scorer and join Bayern Munich for €100 million as their new No. 9 this summer.
But Kane judges himself by the highest standards and against the game's greatest players. Many would buckle under such comparisons, but the striker has actively invited it, spending the last decade aspiring to rival the feats of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the dynamic duopoly at the top of world football for so long. Ronaldo may now be 38 years old and Messi 36, but they remain Kane's inspiration after he celebrated his 30th birthday back in June.
"I think of what they've done, they are as good in their 30s as they were in their 20s," Kane told ESPN in an exclusive interview. "Me just turning 30 now, it obviously gives me excitement to know if I keep my body in good shape and keep my mentality right, I could be playing at the highest level for as long as I want to do it.
"Those players [Ronaldo and Messi] have set the bar -- those and a few others as well -- and it just motivates me and tells me that it's possible. It is great watching those players still performing, two of the greatest players ever to play our game. For me now, it is almost the second half of my career. I've had a good first half; now, can the second half be even better?"
It will have to go some way to rival what's come before. Kane ended a 19-year association with Tottenham this summer, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 280 competitive goals. Only Alan Shearer (260) scored more in the Premier League's history than Kane'sRead on m.allfootballapp.com