Khabib Nurmagomedov shows off football skills once again with Ronaldo tribute

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If former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had not been such an insanely talented grappler, there is a fair chance that he would have tried his hand as a professional footballer as a youngster.

The 32-year-old Russian, who retired from the Octagon last year with a perfect 29-0 record, has made no secret of his passion for the game. Khabib even referred to football as "the king of all sports" during an interview back in February.

Now that his combat sports days are over, 'The Eagle' spends plenty of time on the pitch with his pals, frequently uploading clips of his skills to Instagram. Judging by his most recent post, it is fair to say that Khabib has some talent too.

The clip concerned shows Khabib gliding easily past an oncoming defender before cooly side-footing the ball into the net. Immediately after his tidy finish, the Russian paid homage to legendary Brazilian marksman Ronaldo - who once starred for Nurmagomedov's favourite side Real Madrid.

The iconic striker scored 83 goals in 127 games during his spell at the Santiago Bernabeu between 2002 and 2007. However, almost as famous as his goal return was Ronaldo's sudden weight gain during his time at Madrid - reportedly caused by hormones he was taking in order to treat a long-term injury.

When Khabib scored his recent goal, he celebrated in trademark Ronaldo fashion, wagging his finger up and down as he approached the camera.

"Who remembers the Ronaldo of 2008, put on a bit of weight but still with firepower," Khabib asked cheekily in the caption of the clip, referencing Ronaldo's weight struggles.

It did not take long for Ronaldo himself to get wind of the post. The 44-year-old responded on the social media platform with a series of clapping emojis. Fellow former Real Madrid superstar Clarence Seedorf also showed his appreciation for Khabib's talents in the same fashion.

Earlier this year, third-tier Russian side FC Kamaz offered Khabib the chance to come and play with them. Nurmagomedov didn't end up turning out for the club, but time is still on his side if he does fancy giving the sport a real go.

Per thesun.co.uk, Khabib spoke of his desire to one day play professionally, revealing in an interview with Match.TV that he has even run the idea past Cristiano Ronaldo!

"To play football on a professional level is a childhood dream. Of course, I have such a wish. Football is the king of sports after all," declared Nurmagomedov.

"Who haven’t I discussed this with! I’ve spoken even with the UEFA president Aleskandr Ceferin, with the owner of PSG, yes and even with Cristiano Ronaldo.

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"For me, football is the number one sport. When I was a child, I dreamed of being a football player and I have always watched football.

"In a way, football is better (than MMA), you don't have to fight or smash somebody - you just go onto grass and show everyone what you are capable of doing professionally.

"Of course, it is hard but I like it more, more than UFC, more than MMA," said Khabib.

In truth, his star power alone means that Nurmagomedov could bag an opportunity with many smaller teams around the world - each keen to capitalise on the attention that his presence would bring.

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Make no mistake, though, Khabib does not do publicity stunts. He genuinely wants to pursue his childhood dream. Given his success in the UFC, he is certainly no stranger to hard work either.

As unlikely as it may have once seemed, Khabib might still become a two-sport star.

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