Earlier this season, some people were saying that Cristiano Ronaldo was in decline.
The Real Madrid superstar certainly wasn't his usual prolific self at the start of the campaign and there were question marks about whether he was past his best.
But Ronaldo is far from finished.
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He followed up last week’s hat-trick in the Madrid derby with a further two goals against Sporting Gijon as Madrid scraped a 2-1 victory. It now means he’s scored 10 goals in his 10 La Liga matches this season, while his side sit six points clear at the top of the league.
On Saturday against Gijon, a penalty got his side off to a perfect start in the fifth minute before an emphatic header from Nacho’s cross shortly afterwards.
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At first look, it just looks like an ordinary header. But a video has emerged of his brilliant movement to create the space for himself in the box.
The clip shows Ronaldo running into the box with a Gijon defender attempting to closely mark him. Ronaldo then dips inside threatening to get across his man, which causes the defender to go with his run.
But then the former Manchester United star peels off around the back, leaving him in acres of space in the penalty box. Nacho’s cross was perfect for him and he bulleted his header into the corner.
Take a look at his world-class movement:
It looks as though the 31-year-old is set to end the best year of his career in fantastic form. Having already won the Champions League and the European Championships, Ronaldo looks certain to win his fourth Ballon d’Or in January.
When he signed a new five-year deal with Madrid earlier this month, Ronaldo claimed that this wouldn’t be his last contract in football - despite the fact he would be 36 when it expires.
With movement like we saw yesterday, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he was still playing deep into his thirties. Zinedine Zidane has started playing him as an out-and-out striker and that’s certainly a position he could make his own as he grows older.
In that role, Ronaldo isn’t required to do too much defensive work, meaning he can come alive in attacking situations. He may not have pace when he’s 36 or 37, but with world-class movement, who needs pace?
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