Considering the type of player he is now, it’s remarkable to think that Cristiano Ronaldo began his career as a livewire winger.
Has any other footballer in history ever gone from skinny teenage winger to powerhouse centre-forward over the course of their career?
Ronaldo is a true one-off and this extraordinary transformation is one of the reasons why his biggest fans regard him as the greatest of all time.
Between 2003-2005, back when he was Manchester United’s inconsistent but talented starlet, nobody could have envisaged that Ronaldo would develop into arguably the best goalscorer we’ve ever seen.
But following his latest goal for Portugal against Andorra, the 35-year-old is firmly on course to score more international goals than any other player.
Now just seven goals behind Iranian Ali Daei’s all-time record, it’s surely now a question of when - rather than if - Cristiano will cement his status as the greatest international goalscorer ever.
Portugal beat Andorra 7-0 on Wednesday night thanks to goals from Pedro Neto, Paulinho (2), Renato Sanches, Emili Garcia (OG) and Joao Felix.
Ronaldo netted Portugal’s sixth goal of the evening with a trademark header in the 85th minute.
The world-class forward outfoxed a couple of Andorra defenders with his clever movement before leaping higher than anyone else and powering his header past Andorra’s goalkeeper Josep Gómes.
A slow-motion replay has now emerged on social media - via Esporte Interativo - and it shows Ronaldo’s jumping ability is still next level…
Remember: he turns 36 in February. It isn’t normal to see such impressive athleticism from a player approaching their late-30s.
Earlier in the same match, Ronaldo almost injured himself because he jumped so high in an effort to score a header.
As the ball was floated into the box, Ronaldo produced one of his incredible ‘hang-time leaps’ to tower higher than any other player.
He somehow managed to connect with the ball but hurt himself on landing.
Watch the footage here…
While he wasn’t able to add to his goal tally on that occasion, you have to admire a) his ability to jump that high, and b) his determination and hunger to score goals at the age of 35.
It’s been said many times before, but Ronaldo truly is an example to every aspiring footballer.
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