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Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn looks to 'hero' Steven Gerrard for inspiration

Europe's 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn said Steven Gerrard is an inspiration in leadership to him
Europe's 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn said Steven Gerrard is an inspiration in leadership to him.

There may be a weekend of domestic football fixtures to prepare for, but that didn't stop the eyes of the sporting world shifting to Paris on Friday as the 2018 Ryder Cup teed off in earnest.

Thomas Bjorn, captain of the European team, revealed before Friday morning's opening fourballs at Guyancourt that he has taken inspiration from a slightly peculiar source for the battle against the United States.

A huge Liverpool supporter, Bjorn was contacted by none other than Steven Gerrard in the run up to the tournament and the Swede is keen to lead Europe to glory in the "exceptional" mould of the Reds' former skipper.

"If there was ever a hero of a football club, but also a hero of mine, it was probably always him [Gerrard] with the way he carried himself, the way he led a team and the player he was on the pitch," Bjorn gushed.

"He has been a great inspiration for a lot of young people but also an inspiration for somebody like me; for his character and the way he has represented something that I hold dear to my heart and so many people hold dear to their hearts.

"He is just an exceptional person."

The day before the professional competition began, several football legends were invited along to enjoy a brisk nine holes at Le Golf National, with Luis Figo and Alessandro Del Piero among those testing themselves on the Albatros Course.

Alessandro Del Piero and Luis Figo looked the part as they played on the Albatros course
Alessandro Del Piero and Luis Figo certainly looked the part as they played on the Albatros course.

Former France and Tottenham winger David Ginola took centre stage on Thursday as he welcomed Bjorn and and his U.S. counterpart , Jim Furyk, for the opening ceremony.

David Ginola engaged in some transatlantic diplomacy between the United States and Europe's Ryder Cup captains
David Ginola engaged in some transatlantic diplomacy between the United States and Europe's Ryder Cup captains.

Once the tournament was underway, Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola -- a big golf fan -- was asked to offer his thoughts on the Ryder Cup at his Friday press conference.

Zola cheerily acknowledged the strength of the US team but still backed fellow Italian Francesco Molinari to make the difference for Europe - which he did by earning Europe's first point along with fourballs partner Tommy Fleetwood.

Speaking of golf fanatics, Michael Owen was quick to offer some sober words of caution for the players on the first morning.

And former England captain Gary Lineker, a Spanish speaker from his stint at Barcelona as a player, deployed a well-known phrase in his second language by way of praise for the, erm, courage of Jon Rahm for one particular shot.

No doubt there will be plenty of footballers across Europe glued to their screens this weekend, hoping to pick up a few tips for their own game from some of the best players on the golf circuit.

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