Cristiano Ronaldo: 11 insane achievements since turning 30, featuring Messi and Buffon

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Cristiano Ronaldo has long since proven that age is just a number.

It's astonishing to think that Wayne Rooney hung up his boots at 35 years old after winding down his career in the Championship when Ronaldo is chasing the European Golden Shoe at one year his senior.

And there's no criticism of Rooney, by the way, because the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona were also winding down their careers at the same age that Ronaldo is eyeing up a sixth Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo's supreme agelessness

It's surely a good feeling, too, because there must have been times in Ronaldo's life where he might not have fancied all the early starts, extra hours in the gym or ice baths in the middle of the night.

Only, despite that hardship and dedication, it's paid off massively in the long-term as Ronaldo celebrated his 36th birthday this week with his status as one of the sport's top athletes intact.

And it's clear that Ronaldo hadn't taken the opportunity to plough through a birthday cake because he instead launched Juventus up to third in Serie A with a goal-scoring display against AS Roma.

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Ronaldo's post-30 achievements

Not only that but his fine left-footed finish even secured the Portuguese superstar another piece of history and that's something we wanted to acknowledge in our celebration of Ronaldo today.

In fact, in order to highlight Ronaldo's remarkable longevity above everything else, we've decided to highlight 11 incredible things that that the Juventus icon has achieved since his 30th birthday.

1. Win three consecutive Champions League titles

So, for the record, Ronaldo blew out 30 candles on his birthday cake on February 5, 2015, which means that three of the Portuguese's Champions League triumphs have come in his thirties.

Ronaldo was the jewel in Real Madrid's crown as they not only became the first club to win the Champions League back-to-back but three times in a row, winning the 2016, 2017 and 2018 titles.

Think that's more of a team achievement than an individual one? Please, Ronaldo scored an insane 43 goals from 38 appearances during those three victories and all with his twenties behind him.

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2. Set the World Cup speed record

Despite travelling to the 2018 World Cup in Russia at the age of 33, Ronaldo returned home as the player with the joint-fastest speed clocking at the entire tournament: an insane speed of 34km/h.

Bear in mind that this was the same summer in which Kylian Mbappe, 14 years younger than his hero, had set Argentina alight his remarkable pace. Only, it wasn't enough to outrun Ronaldo.

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3. Score 300 goals

Uh huh, seriously. Most strikers would be delighted to score 300 goals in their entire career, never mind beyond their 30th birthday, but that's exactly what Ronaldo achieved with his Roma strike.

All the more impressive is that Ronaldo secured the feat in just 326 appearances for club and country, overwhelming the ratio with which he scored 463 goals in 718 games before turning 30.

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4. Biggest winning margin in Ballon d'Or history

Not only has Ronaldo won two Ballon d'Or titles since entering the second full decade of his career, but the first of which marked the biggest margin of victory in the history of France Football's famous prize.

Ronaldo, fresh from winning the Champions League and European Championships, overwhelmed Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann by 429 and 547 votes respectively with a staggering total of 745 nods.

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5. Score eight goals in two matches

Yes, you did read that right. Ronaldo astonishingly smashed home eight goals in the space of just two games during September 2015 with Espanyol and Shakthar Donetsk feeling his wrath.

Ronaldo found the net five(!!!) times during a 6-0 win at the RCDE Stadium to become Real's all-time record goalscorer in La Liga, before following it up with a Champions League hat-trick. Mental.

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6. Get revenge on Lionel Messi

Ah, it wouldn't be a feature on Ronaldo's achievements without comparisons to Messi, would it? And one of the most triumphant moments in his thirties was a bout of oneupmanship from 2017.

That's because the Real Madrid legend scored one of his greatest goals for Los Blancos with a sizzling strike at Camp Nou, before displaying his jersey to the crowd, referencing his eternal rival.

It was the perfect middle finger to Messi having scored a last-minute winner at the Bernabeu the previous season, deploying a celebration that Ronaldo couldn't resist topping later that year.

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7. Levitate against Sampdoria

There have been countless examples of Ronaldo jumping like an NBA player since leaving his twenties behind, but none were more impressive than his gravity-defying goal at Sampdoria.

This might be the week in which Motherwell's Bevis Mugabi managed to outjump Ronaldo's stunning record, but that doesn't make leaping 71 centimetres off the ground at age 34 any less commendable.

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8. Punish the world's best goalkeepers

We've already touched on Ronaldo's mind-blowing Champions League record in his thirties, but it was his 2016/17 rampage against arguably the world's best goalkeepers at the time that really stands out.

That's because Ronaldo fired five goals past Manuel Neuer in the quarter-finals, followed it up with three strikes past Jan Oblak in the semi-finals and bagged a brace against Gianluigi Buffon in the climax itself.

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9. Score 13 international goals in a calendar year

Ronaldo's achievements for Portugal since turning 30 could make for a list of its own, mentioning his iconic World Cup hat-trick against Spain or closing in on the all-time international goalscoring record.

But we're inclined to think that 2016 took the cake with Ronaldo helping himself to 13 international goals from as many caps to break Eusebio's calendar year record and oh, become a European champion.

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10. Two Champions League comeback hat-tricks

It's mental to think that Ronaldo has rescued his side from Champions League elimination with a comeback hat-trick since turning 30 not once, but twice - and with two separate clubs to boot.

Ronaldo pulled Real Madrid out of the fire with a breath-taking treble against Wolfsburg in 2016, before repeating the feat with three strikes for Juventus to overhaul Atletico Madrid three years later.

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11. Make waves away from the pitch

While there's an argument to be had that Ronaldo's playing career reached new heights in his thirties, it's unquestionable that his influence off the pitch has climbed to its zenith since 2015.

Ronaldo was ranked the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017, named the world’s most famous athlete by ESPN in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and is the most-followed human being on Instagram.

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So, when we pedal the cliché that Ronaldo has proven that age is just a number, we really aren't kidding because the 36-year-old has achieved more in his thirties than most have in a lifetime.

However, even an incarnate Benjamin Button like Ronaldo can't go on forever, so it's never been more important that we treasure him and his achievements for as long as he continues to grace the game.

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