Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most influential players in the history of football. And this year, the 2022 World Cup Qatar is only months away for the star to make his fifth appearance on the grand stage. He has to play consistently, stay fit, and avoid serious injuries to link up with the Portuguese national team. An impressive record in major tournaments means he is one to watch in this year’s showcase.
Bookmakers are also waiting to see what input the lethal striker will have on the Portugal team to adjust their odds accordingly. So, besides cheering for your favourite team to win, World Cup betting is something you can also look forward to. Cristiano has netted many goals and provided many assists, so all we can do is wait and see.
Most people had long speculated that Cristiano would have hanged his boots by now. The average retirement age in high-intensity sports such as Basketball, Soccer, Swimming, Rugby, the NFL, and Athletics is usually 36. A key factor is that financially, there is little incentive to continue since there is a reluctance to offer lucrative or long-term contracts to athletes over 30 years. It is also the period when most athletes experience recurring injuries, a dip in form, or a drop in pace or strength, and this will have them out of action in favour of younger athletes.
It is, therefore, no doubt that most people expected Cristiano Ronaldo to hang his boots by the time he turned 36. But, does Cristiano break this age barrier and continue to perform exceptionally?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Performance Over Time
At 37, he has continued to show that age is just but a number by showcasing some bedazzling performances on the field. Statistically, from the 2006/2007 season, he has scored 23 or more goals every year up to the 2021/2022 season.
After leaving Manchester United in 2009, he had nine spectacular seasons at Real Madrid, where he scored 450 goals in 438 matches. It is a staggering return that had him crowned the best player in the world four times. He then switched to Italian side Juventus, and in three years, he scored 101 goals in 134 appearances before rejoining Manchester United in 2021.
Even though 2021 was a year of mixed fortunes, he still scored 24 goals, including 18 in the Premier League, where he was among the top scorers. Many people had expected him to flop on his return, but he is showing no signs of slowing down. He still wants to challenge for major honours as well as make an attempt to win the World Cup.
So, how has he managed to stay in shape for so long? Well, one thing for sure is his discipline, motivation, and commitment. He works out every day, follows a strict diet, and is constantly looking to improve on the weak areas of his gameplay. Ronaldo has also stated numerous times that he doesn’t drink alcohol. Since his peak years in Real Madrid, most fans noticed that he had lost some of his blistering pace. It has never been a problem because Cristiano changed his style of play, switching from a winger to a striker.
Doing so has allowed him to use his body strength to bully defenders in and around the box. His clever runs enable him to latch onto through balls, and his deadly accuracy with both feet makes him a complete attacker. Cristiano can turn to either his left or right side and still find the back of the net with both ease and excellent accuracy, making him one of the few players in the world with ambidextrous feet.
Additionally, he is also a skilful dribbler and header of the ball. Another attribute that he has consistently worked on is his jumping ability. He can jump higher than most footballers to reach balls crossed into the box and head them into the net. One of the memorable headed goals that he scored was in the 2008 Champions League Final against Chelsea. On 18th December 2019, Ronaldo leapt to a height of 2.57 meters, higher than the crossbar, while playing for Juventus. He scored the winning goal against Italian opponent Sampdoria, and again, he showcased another strength of his game remarkably.
Is This the End For Cristiano?
So far in 2022, Ronaldo doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. He has hardly missed matches because of fitness issues, and when he is benched, it is purely on tactical grounds, a decision made by the manager. Most soccer fans have hardly noticed that his speed on the counterattacks isn’t what it used to be because the star keeps scoring. In instances where he can’t get into the box, he will unleash a rocket of a shot on target, which has seen him score some wonder goals over the last decade. One such goal is the rocket of a strike from 40 yards against FC Porto in 2009, which won goal of the year in the FIFA awards.
Since turning 33, he has also broken some notable records, including being the oldest player to score a hat-trick (3 goals) at a FIFA World Cup tournament (Russia 2018). At Euro 2020, he scored two goals against Hungary, making him the oldest player to score two or more goals in a European Championship, the most senior Portuguese footballer to score at a major tournament, and the all-time top scorer in the UEFA EURO championships. In 2020 while playing for Juventus, at 35 years old, he scored over 30 goals, making him the oldest player to achieve that landmark in Europe’s top five soccer leagues since 1948.
Ronaldo is also Portugal’s all-time goal scorer and the UEFA Champions League all-time top scorer with 141 goals after scoring six goals for Manchester United in the 2021 season.
Cristiano heads into the World Cup showdown in Qatar in November as a top striker for Portugal, which is among the favourites to win. Regardless of the fortunes there, he hopes to still challenge for major trophies in club football as he doesn’t look like retiring in 2023.