Remembering Cristiano Ronaldo's race v 36-year-old Sergio Ballesteros in 2011

Cristiano Ronaldo in 2011

Cristiano Ronaldo has been blessed with electrifying pace throughout his stunning career.

When he first arrived at Manchester United in 2003, the Portuguese superstar was a scrawny youngster who tried way too many skills.

A few years later, with the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo was the best player in the world and his physique was now that of a truly elite athlete.

His pace from the left was deadly and it was an asset he used to devastating effect when he moved to Real Madrid in 2009.

Even now, at the age of 33, Ronaldo is recognised as one of the fastest players in world football - he still has 89 acceleration and 91 sprint speed on FIFA 19.

Few defenders in world football would feel confident trying to match the Portuguese stride for stride.

However, in 2011, Ronaldo was involved in perhaps the most interesting race of his professional football career.

Real Madrid were 1-0 down away at Levante and a hopeful ball was played forward for Ronaldo to chase to try and snatch an equaliser.

The man to catch him and stop the attack? None other than 36-year-old defender Sergio Ballesteros. You can watch the extraordinary footage below.

VIDEO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5WaJFNsDjY

That is defending of the highest level.

It's worth remembering Ronaldo was only 25 at the time, 11 years younger than Ballesteros.

In recent years, the Portuguese has adapted his game to cope with his slight loss of acceleration and sprint speed on the pitch.

Instead of terrorising full-backs on the left-wing for 90 minutes, Ronaldo has become more of a focal point in attack, a poacher in the box.

Ronaldo with Juventus

He is still capable of some dazzling skills - as he has shown at Juventus in 2018/19 - but he is recognised more as a striker these days than a winger.

Twelve goals in 18 Serie A games so far is a fair reflection of how well he's adapted his game.

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