Cristiano Ronaldo continues to amaze at the age of 35.
Most footballers in their mid-30s are in the process of bringing the curtain down on their careers, while others have already retired. But Ronaldo, as we’re all acutely aware, is very different from the vast majority of players.
The legendary Portuguese forward, who turns 36 in February, can easily play for at least three or four more seasons at the highest level of European football.
It wouldn’t be a shock if Ronaldo plays until he’s 40 – and perhaps even a couple more years after that.
“Right now I have a biological age of 23,” he said in 2018. “I’ve still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I’m 41. I’m feeling good, happy, I can’t complain.”
On Sunday night, the veteran striker produced a trademark towering leap to score a headed equaliser for Juventus against AS Roma. That was his second goal of the game and proved enough to earn Juve a point.
Most players – even those 10 or 15 years his junior – wouldn’t be capable of such a high jump or hanging in the air for so long.
How on earth does he do it?
Well, it’s all about his detailed fitness regime, according to The Sun.
Unsurprisingly, dedication to the gym is imperative. Ronaldo follows a Pilates-based routine focusing on resistance work to strengthen his core.
The Portugal international also knows the importance of rest and following his strict diet every day. In Ronaldo’s book, the mere idea of a cheat day simply doesn’t exist.
The report adds that post-match exercise is also a key part of his regime.
Instead of lounging in front of the TV or games console like other players might after a game, workaholic Ronaldo heads straight to the pool.
He’ll swim lengths – often alongside his Cristiano Jr, according to The Sun’s report – to help him unwind while working out his arms, core and leg muscles in the process.
And to help with muscle regeneration, Ronaldo has a £50,000 Cryotherapy chamber alongside his gym.
He reportedly installed it back in 2013 after hearing that it had helped Franck Ribery, but the process of actually using it sounds awful.
He’ll stand in the chamber for roughly three minutes as liquid nitrogen freezes him to between minus 160 and minus 200 degrees Celsius.
Ronaldo’s muscles subsequently recover quicker, allowing him to be ready for the next match or training session sooner.
He will also have hot and cold baths to stimulate muscle regeneration.
As for his diet, Ronaldo limits his meat intake but eats plenty of fish.
One of his favourite dishes is Lisbon speciality Bacalao a la Brasa, which is a mixture of braised cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs.
“I eat a high protein diet, with lots of wholegrain carbs, fruit and vegetables, and avoid sugary food,” Ronaldo once said.
“Eat regularly. If you train regularly it’s important to keep energy levels high to fuel your body for better performance.
“I sometimes eat up to six smaller meals a day to make sure I have enough energy to perform each session at top level.”
Needless to say, Ronaldo also avoids alcohol and only allowed himself a drop of champagne after winning Euro 2016.
“At the end of the game, during the celebrations, I drank a glass of champagne and immediately it went to my head,” he confessed.
“I never drink but that day was so special. The most important trophy ever.”
Every aspiring footballer should use Ronaldo as an example of how to look after themselves off the pitch.
All of this unseen professionalism has helped him scale such lofty heights during his illustrious career.
He couldn’t have been more dedicated to his profession over the course of his career, and this approach to his work is one of the main reasons why he’ll end his career remembered as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
In summary, here are Ronaldo’s six key fitness secrets…
‘Hard work’: Motivation is absolutely essential – and Ronaldo has it in abundance.
‘The world is your gym’: You can train wherever and at whatever time of day. Just make sure you do it.
‘Booze ban’: Forget alcohol-fuelled nights out with your pals if you want to be like Cristiano.
‘You are what you eat’: Avoid sugary foods and get plenty of protein inside you as part of a balanced diet.
‘Ronnie says relax’: Chill time with family and friends is important.
‘Sleep well’: Get at least eight hours kip every night, if possible.
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