Cristiano Ronaldo’s former body double who once won a contract with Inter Milan is now a non-league player

A football player who has already won a dream contract with Inter Milan and also had a spell like Cristiano RonaldoThe current body double is struggling in football outside of the league.

In 2009, Ben Greenhalgh auditioned for a new football reality show on Sky One called ‘Football’s Next Star’.

The 17-year-old beat competition from 2,000 other players to win the show – securing a six-month contract with Inter, which was managed by José 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)

Later, Greenhalgh was offered a further one-year contract with the Italian club, which included a four-month loan spell at Calcio Como, after ending his initial six-month contract.

He would go on to score eight goals in 12 games for Como, but was released by Inter in 2011 after not playing for the first team.

But despite never starting, Greenhalgh returned from Italy with a Champions League champion’s medal – having been part of the team’s traveling squad in the victory over Bayern Munich in the 2010 final.

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

He also worked as a stunt double for Cristiano Ronaldo (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)
He also worked as a stunt double for Cristiano Ronaldo (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)

The winger is now a player-manager for club Kent, which plays in the Isthmian League Premier Division – the seventh tier of English football.

Greenhalgh’s remarkable career also featured a stint working as a stunt double for Ronaldo, whom he met a year before his big TV break.

“I made some ads when I was 16 for my coach Mike Delaney, who was a football choreographer,” Greenhalgh told the Daily Mail in 2020.

“As I grew up, I moved more like Ronaldo. I was a winger, who liked to make plays. It’s true that I was based on him and ended up becoming a little 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 stayed for three hours, accompanied me, showed skills, that’s who he was.”

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

“They had me double for Diego Costa, which didn’t make me too happy! Anyway, while they were trying to film, he kept gliding towards the camera,” Greenhalgh added.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, he was like a child 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 Margate, non-League (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)
Greenhalgh is now played at Margate, non-League (Image: Instagram/BenGreenhalgh17)

Greenhalgh, who is now 30 and working towards a full-time career as a manager, also revealed he lost out on a potential two-year contract with Tottenham after signing with Inter Milan.

The winger says he impressed ex-Jamie Redknapp, son of then-Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, while the former England international worked as a mentor at Football’s Next Star.

“Jamie said that if I hadn’t won, I could have had a two-year contract with Tottenham. I never look back,” Greenhalgh added.

“Football can take you on many different journeys.”

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