Can Cristiano Ronaldo reach the big 40 in his career? Here we give you 5 reasons why the Juventus superstar will hit his target.
For a man in his mid-thirties, Cristiano Ronaldo is doing unbelievably well for Juventus. He still outperforms his peers, including those 10 or more years his junior. So why shouldn’t he play until 40?
The Portuguese superstar is certainly feeling confident over his chances, having clocked 21 goals in 22 Serie A games.
“Maybe I can leave my career next year … but I can also play up to 40 or 41,” said Ronaldo last August.
Several of his current and former teammates, meanwhile, have backed him to pull it off. And while many still doubt it, there is nothing Ronaldo likes better than proving his naysayers wrong.
So here we give you the Top 5 reasons Ronaldo will continue to thrive as a footballer in his forties.
Hunger to succeed
It doesn’t matter what odds are stacked against him, Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to succeed always prevails. His indomitable will is unique and something rarely seen. So if he’s to hit the big 40-mark, that is going to be a huge reason.
Many ex-coaches and teammates alike have always paid tribute to the Real Madrid legend’s dedication. He’s never lost focus, not even for the tiniest fraction of a second.
Sir Alex Ferguson even once revealed that Ronaldo never skipped a training session during his six years at Manchester United.
Nothing will stop Cristiano from achieving his goals, no matter what.
Ability to adapt
Ryan Giggs played until 40 himself by evolving from an explosive winger into a more all-round midfielder for Manchester United. It kept him going until 2014.
And considering how well Cristiano Ronaldo has adapted his own game over the years, there is no reason he cannot follow in his old teammate’s footsteps.
Ronaldo made many flashy stepovers, nutmegs and dribbles during his early days at Manchester United. However, he soon underwent a big transformation at Real Madrid.
Ronaldo was realistic. He knew his body would change come 30 and there was a risk of the goals drying up.
To his credit, however, the 35-year-old found a way around it and might be a more lethal goalscorer than before. He is now a world-class poacher and focuses on winning above anything else now.
Advancements in sports medical technology have been immense in the 21st century. Thus, many athletes have continued their careers. We’ve seen Paolo Maldini, Javier Zanetti and Giggs hit the age of 40.
AC Milan even have their laboratory, run by the famous Jean Pierre Meersseman. They have facilities able to collect data on every single player. Thus, footballers can reduce the risk of severe injuries and possibly extent their own careers.
“Paolo Maldini was written off at 32 and he played another nine years,” said Meersseman on The Guardian.
“And I remember when Cafu came in, somebody called me up – I won’t say who – and said I know for sure he is gone. He played another four years at a very high level.”
Footballers also get individualised training sessions, focused on their own fitness needs. While wearing devices to assess their heart rate is becoming a common practice, along with regular medical tests.
Next up in our list of reasons as to why Cristiano Ronaldo can play until 40, we point to his never-ending rivalry with Lionel Messi.
There is nothing quite like a bit of healthy competition to get you back on the right track. We’ve seen that one this season after Messi won a sixth Ballon d’Or.
The Argentine’s win practically gave Ronaldo the ‘medicine’ that he needed to kick-start his campaign following a difficult first-half.
The 35-year-old has always aimed to beat his long-term rival for over a decade now, and recently confessed it’s helped take his game to even higher levels.
“I have no doubt that Messi has made me a better player and vice versa,” said Ronaldo via Marca.
“It’s a good rivalry, but it’s not unique. Michael Jordan had them in basketball, Ayrton Senna and [Alain]Prost in Formula 1.
“What they all had in common is that they were healthy rivalries.
“I have an excellent professional relationship with Messi because we have been sharing similar moments for 15 years.”
Anybody who has followed Cristiano Ronaldo’s career knows how seriously he takes his own fitness.
The 6ft 2in forward works out for three hours every five days per week on endurance, speed, strength and movement.
On how to warm-up, Ronaldo once said: “In training, we do a few laps of the pitch, stretching, and cardio exercises.”
“Make sure you do something similar in your training, even if it is jogging to the gym or a warm-up on the treadmill or bicycle.”
He also does cardiovascular training and pilates. The result? In 2018 a medical report at Juventus showed his body is similar to a 20-year-old.
Another great example is when it emerged Ronaldo was the quickest Serie A striker in the opening two games. He clocked a top speed of 34.62km/h. Not bad for 35-year-old, right?
So can Ronaldo play until 40? We got no doubts he can pull it off in style.