‘Ruthless’ Cristiano Ronaldo backed to play until 40

Cristiano Ronaldo’s match-winning performance for Portugal against Switzerland has added to the growing belief he can play until the age of 40.

34-year-old Ronaldo proved once again proved age is nothing more than a number after firing Portugal into the Nations League final on Wednesday night.

The Juventus forward scored a brilliant free-kick in the first half that went right into the bottom-right corner of the net to put Portugal ahead.

Despite Ricardo Rodriguez’s controversial penalty putting Switzerland back on level terms, Ronaldo came to the rescue by slotting home Bernardo Silva’s cross in the 88th-minute before completing his hat-trick 102 seconds later.

Reflecting on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s performance, it left Chris Sutton in awe on how he still moves “like an Olympic athlete”.

“The Portuguese Pied Piper leading Switzerland in a merry dance,” the ex-Chelsea striker told BBC.

“The second goal was such a wonderfully worked move and he knew exactly what he wanted to do.

Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus, Real Madrid

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“It’s a goal of beauty the way he finishes it off. Then it’s a double step-over with a bending finish for the third. He is so hungry and he still moves like an Olympic athlete. He is 34 and he has no right to move like that.

PORTO, PORTUGAL – JUNE 05: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal runs with the ball during the UEFA Nations League Semi-Final match between Portugal and Switzerland at Estadio do Dragao on June 05, 2019 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

“He is a real leader for this Portuguese team and it tells you everything about the way he leads his life. It’s a possibility that he could carry on playing until he is 40.

“He was the difference on the big stage once again. He has changed his game over the years. Ruthless Ronaldo.”

Former England international Chris Waddle added: “You expect that every game from Ronaldo. Switzerland were playing well but he is a top-class goalscorer and all three of them were good goals.

“Years ago he was a dribbler with bags of pace but now he is a goalscorer and he has kept himself so fit.

“There is no reason why he cannot play at 40. His game has developed and his coaches do not ask him to chase back against full-backs because it means he is fresh when he gets it. You have to have that out ball and he is the one.”

Portugal v Switzerland - UEFA Nations League Semi-Final
PORTO, PORTUGAL – JUNE 05: Detailed view of the big screen displaying the man of the match as Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal during the UEFA Nations League Semi-Final match between Portugal and Switzerland at Estadio do Dragao on June 05, 2019 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

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