Footballers are becoming increasingly athletic but 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo is still the sport’s shining example when it comes to fitness.
The Juventus and Portugal superstar has looked after himself incredibly well throughout his extraordinary career.
Ronaldo eats, drinks and sleeps as good as any other professional footballer. He’s also put in an unbelievable amount of work inside the gym over the years.
It’s thanks to Ronaldo’s hard work off the pitch that he’s able to produce so much magic on it.
For example, there’s no way we’d see him leaping high over opposition defenders almost half his age if he wasn’t such a physical specimen.
We’ve seen Cristiano produce some almost superhuman jumps while playing for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and the Portuguese national team.
His highest-ever recorded jump was a stunning 2.93m in February 2013 while scoring for Madrid against United in the Champions League.
Just look at the height on that leap! Patrice Evra stood absolutely no chance…
Let’s take a look at the other times Ronaldo has defied gravity during matches…
One of the best headed goals of his career for United away at AS Roma
You can’t even see him in the video when Paul Scholes chips in the pass.
Scoring for Man United vs Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final
What a photo that is. All Michael Essien could do was stand and watch.
Leaping above Paris Saint-Germain’s players during his Real Madrid days.
Towering over Dani Alves during El Clasico.
How on earth does he do it?
This header while playing for Portugal against Wales at Euro 2016.
Arguably the best header of his entire career for Juventus against Sampdoria in 2019.
The slow-motion replay is special…
Going full ‘Air Cristiano’ against Roma in September 2020.
And this jump for Portugal against Andorra two months later.
But the question is: why can Ronaldo jump higher than everyone else?
The Daily Mail reported in 2013 that Ronaldo can leap higher than the average NBA basketball player and that when he jumps, he generates 5G of G-force on take-off – five times the power of a cheetah in full flight.
Powerful thigh and upper body muscles are essential in order to jump so high, hence why Ronaldo has spent so many hours in the gym training his muscles to maintain his power.
Dr Neal Smith from the University of Chichester noted how Ronaldo tucks his feet up at the peak of his jump, which gives him a boost, slows down his descent and makes it appear as if he’s hanging in the air.
DNA, years of practice, strengthening key muscles and, finally, diet have all contributed to Ronaldo’s ability to jump higher than almost every other footballer on the planet.