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Diogo Dalot has received plenty of plaudits for his impressive start to the season for Manchester United – and now Cristiano Ronaldo has given him a new nickname.

The Portuguese teammates, who alongside Bruno Fernandes play together for club and country, and have struck a good relationship over the past year since Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford. But Dalot has had the more memorable campaign so far, putting together a run of solid performances in the Premier League.

Now preparing to begin his Europa League campaign in the same vein against Real Sociedad on Thursday, the 23-year-old right-back posted a picture of himself in training on Instagram, to which Ronaldo replied calling him a “piteusinho,” roughly translating to “little pittie.”

While there’s no English equivalent of “pittie,” it’s been suggested that it roughly means ‘little pitbull’, certainly a different compliment to the ones Dalot has been used to hearing when it comes to his football. Jose Mourinho tipped him to be the next Gary Neville after signing from Porto four years ago for £19million, and now it finally looks as if he’s delivering on that prediction.

Having failed to convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over three seasons, Ralf Rangnick preferred him instead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka last term due to his superior attacking output. Now with Erik ten Hag in charge, the new United manager has also taking a liking to the Portugal international.

He’s even given him at £85m boost on the right flank in the form Antony, whose debut goal against Arsenal on Sunday has fans excited. It’s a partnership between full-back and winger that Dalot is also relishing, as he explained ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash.

Ronaldo commented on Dalot's Instagram post

Ronaldo commented on Dalot’s Instagram post© Instagram/@diogodalot

Get involved! Has Dalot been Man Utd’s best player so far this season? Join the debate in the comments section.

“I think you could see really the impact that he had straightaway in our team,” the former Porto prodigy said of former Ajax star Antony. “It makes it a little bit easier to speak with him, because I can speak to him in Portuguese. It comes a little bit quicker than in English. But I think he is a very, very good kid, and very open to get help as well, which is good.”

While Dalot could be rested for Real Sociedad’s visit, Antony and Ronaldo are both expected to start. The latter has spent the past four games on the bench, all of which the Red Devils have won in a telling sign of his predicament.

If Ronaldo does play, it’ll be the five-time Ballon d’Or winners’ first-ever appearance in Europe’s second-rate competition, having always prided himself on being the greatest Champions League player of all-time. At least it’s against a team he knows well, though, having scored a sensational 15 goals and registered four assists in nine meetings with Real Sociedad during his time at Real Madrid, winning every single game.

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