Cristiano Ronaldo has always been known as one of the best headers of the ball that football has ever seen, and incredible statistics recently posted online have now proven it beyond all doubt.
Ronaldo has never hidden his desire to be the absolute best at what he does. In September 2021, after being given yet another Guinness World Record, the Portuguese striker announced his aspirations to set further records, saying: “Always good to be recognised as a record-breaker. Let’s keep trying to set the numbers even higher.”
The Manchester United striker has already set some impressive records, one of the most notable was his recent overtake of Ali Daei as the all-time international top scorer. Earlier this season the Old Trafford icon reached another incredible milestone when he bagged his 800th career goal.
But to sit here and list all of Ronaldo’s records and achievements would take all day, so let’s move onto the recently highlighted statistic that shows how just how amazing Ronaldo’s heading ability is.
In an article posted by The Mirror, an infographic provided by Popfoot shows that Ronaldo has scored more headers than any other player in world football since the turn of the millennium. And the scary part is that nobody else even comes close to the 36-year-old, Luuk De Jong sits in second place but is still 32 headed goals behind Ronaldo.
While De Jong’s second-place ranking will probably come as a surprise to some, there are a number of usual suspects on the list. Robert Lewandowski sits in third place, whilst Zlatan Ibrahimovic just creeps into the top ten.
And of course, the Premier League’s record header of the ball Peter Crouch makes it into the graphic, placing 13th with 56 headed goals, one behind Manchester United hitman Edinson Cavani.
But there are even more unbelievable stats behind Ronaldo’s soaring jumps. During a game against Sampdoria in 2019, Ronaldo leapt 71cm off the ground, reaching a height of over two and a half metres. To put those numbers into context, it’s believed the average NBA player also jumps around 71cm from the ground… Not bad for a footballer.
And it seems that Claudio Ranieri, who was manager of Sampdoria at the time, noticed exactly that. After the game, he said: “Ronaldo did something that you see in the NBA.
“He was up in the air for an hour and a half.”
Whilst that might have been somewhat of an exaggeration on the Italian’s behalf, when you watch some of the striker’s headed efforts, it often seems that Ronaldo can hang in the air for an impossible amount of time.
Another of Ronaldo’s brilliant headers came in the Champions League whilst playing for Real Madrid. The 36-year-old came back to haunt his former Manchester club when he leapt towards the clouds and nodded the ball into the back of the net. Even Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t deny the brilliance of his former protege’s goal, remarking after the match: “What a header, you can’t stop that.
“The leap, the spring, the way he held himself in the air. What a header.
“I blamed Patrice Evra for his goal at first for not challenging – then I saw the replay and I felt a bit stupid. On the replay, Ronaldo’s knee is about as high as Evra’s head.”
With the superstar’s 37th birthday arriving in just a couple of weeks, it will certainly be interesting to see how many more records he can break before he finally retires.