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Cristiano Ronaldo's Former Body Double Who Once Won A Dream Contract With Inter Milan Is Now Battling In Non-League Football

Rory O'Callaghan

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Cristiano Ronaldo's Former Body Double Who Once Won A Dream Contract With Inter Milan Is Now Battling In Non-League Football

Featured Image Credit: Alamy & Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17

A footballer who once won a dream contract with Inter Milan and also had a spell as Cristiano Ronaldo's body double is now slugging it out in non-League football.

Back in 2009, Ben Greenhalgh auditioned for a new reality football show on Sky One called 'Football's Next Star'.

The 17-year-old saw off competition from 2,000 other players to win the show - securing a six-month contract with Inter, who were managed by Jose Mourinho at the time.

Ben Greenhalgh won a six-month contract with Inter Milan in 2009 (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)
Ben Greenhalgh won a six-month contract with Inter Milan in 2009 (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)

Greenhalgh was later offered a further one-year contract with the Italian club which included a four-month loan spell at Calcio Como after coming to the end of his initial six-month deal.

He would score eight goals in 12 games for Como but was released by Inter in 2011 after failing to make a senior appearance for the team.

But despite never featuring for the first-team, Greenhalgh returned from Italy with a Champions League winners' medal – having been part of the team's travelling squad for their win over Bayern Munich in the 2010 final.

Greenhalgh returned to English football with Welling United and had further spells at various non-League clubs including Ebbsfleet United, Maidstone United and Concord Rangers, before joining Margate in 2021.

He also worked as Cristiano Ronaldo's body double (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)
He also worked as Cristiano Ronaldo's body double (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)

The winger is now a player-coach at the Kent club, who play in the Isthmian League Premier Division – the seventh tier of English football.

Greenhalgh's remarkable career also featured a period working as a body double for Ronaldo, who he met a year prior to his big break in TV.

"I did a couple of adverts when I was 16 for my coach Mike Delaney, who was a football choreographer," Greenhalgh told the Daily Mail in 2020.

"As I was growing up, I moved more like Ronaldo. I was a winger, who liked to do skills. Admittedly I based myself on him and ended up looking a little bit like him!

Greenhalgh impressed Jamie Redknapp during his time on Football's Next Star (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)
Greenhalgh impressed Jamie Redknapp during his time on Football's Next Star (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)

"Back then at Manchester United, he was probably more willing than he is now. He hung about for three hours, did keepy-ups with me, showing skills, that's what he was like."

Greenhalgh also worked as a body double for former Chelsea striker Diego Costa and revealed the volatile forward was as unpredictable off the pitch as on it.

"They got me to double for Diego Costa which I wasn't too happy about! Anyway, as they tried to film he kept slide tackling the camera," added Greenhalgh.

"I've never seen anything like it, he was like a little kid in a man's body. I think that's why Chelsea got rid of him simply because [Antonio] Conte couldn't handle him!"

Greenhalgh is now played at non-League side Margate (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)
Greenhalgh is now played at non-League side Margate (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)

Greenhalgh, who is now 30 and working towards a full-time career in coaching, also revealed that he missed out on a potential two-year deal at Tottenham after signing with Inter Milan.

The winger says he impressed former Jamie Redknapp, the son of then Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, while the former England international was working as a mentor on Football's Next Star.

"Jamie said if I hadn't won, I could've had a two-year deal at Tottenham. I never look back on it," added Greenhalgh.

"Football can take you on so many different journeys."

Topics: Inter Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo, Football, Jose Mourinho

Rory O'Callaghan
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