Cristiano Ronaldo is proving age is no barrier as the 36-year-old is, without doubt, one of the greatest athletes on the planet.
He continues to leave fans and critics dumbfounded by his ability to continue setting records and score goals in what should be his twilight years.
The Portugal captain could quite easily be forgiven for turning his back on top-flight football and enjoying semi-retirement, racking up numbers in MLS or the Far East much like other legends of the game, including Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, did.
Those two aforementioned legends had hung up their boots by the time they were 35. At 36, though, Ronaldo can’t get enough of scoring goals.
He is now international football’s top scoring player of all time, breaking Ali Daei’s long standing record and is ready to prove to the Premier League he is far from finished.
An unbreakable mindset is something the new Manchester United man has developed throughout the course of his career to take him to the very top.
And with his rock-sold mental approach, it means the physical part of his game is also top notch.
From a scrawny teenager who spent plenty of time on the Old Trafford turf, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has transformed every sinew and fibre of his being to raw muscle.
But despite his impeccable physique, Ronaldo does not spend every waking moment lifting weights, doing sit-ups and chugging protein shakes.
Below, talkSPORT.com looks at how Ronaldo remains in prime shape, with tips from the man himself.
How does he train?
During his medical with Juventus following his arrival from Real Madrid in 2018, it was revealed Ronaldo had the physical capabilities of a 20-year-old.
This is largely due to the excellent care he takes of himself; maintaining seven percent body fat and a muscle mass of 50 per cent.
In an exclusive with bodybuilder.com, Ronaldo designed the perfect workout to develop speed, explosion and power.
Featuring barbell squats, burpee pull-ups and a mixture of rope work, the course is not for the faint-hearted.
Before you jump into the gym, Ronaldo recommends a seriously thorough warm-up to keep the body ready.
“In training we do a few laps of the pitch, stretching and cardio warm-up exercises,” he told Goal.
“Make sure you do something similar in your training, even if it is jogging to the gym or a warm up on the treadmill or bicycle.”
Last, but by no means least, make time for ab workouts.
“Fit in exercise wherever you can,” he adds. “You can do an abs workout in your bedroom when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed. If you get into a routine then it makes it easier as it will become a habit.”
What does he eat?
Ronaldo, who has won almost every top honour possible, eats an astonishing six times a day, with the help of a dedicated team of nutritionists to properly fuel the Portuguese star.
Focusing heavily on a diet of protein and complex carbohydrates to repair his muscles after exercise and then provide him with the necessary fuel to perform.
Never using salt or oil to cook his food, he eats plenty of pasta and chicken and litres upon litres of water a day – sometimes allowing for a glass of juice at breakfast.
CRISTIANO RONALDO’S TYPICAL DAILY MEALS
The 36-year-old maintains his incredible physique with a healthy, yet balanced diet
- Breakfast: Cheese and ham, low-fat yoghurt
- Brunch: Chicken and salad
- Lunch: Tuna, olives, egg and tomato
- Snack: Fresh fruit, avocado on toast
- Supper: Fresh swordfish and salad
- Dinner: Steak and calamari
What have people said?
“I was like ‘can I just finish eating?’ [Ronaldo replied] ‘No, no let’s play two-touch’.
“We start playing two touch. After that he said let’s go to the pool to swim, I was like ‘okay…’ after going in the jacuzzi, the sauna, I’m done. I said: ‘Cristiano why have we come here, have we come here because we have a game tomorrow, or just for lunch?’.
“So that’s why I would recommend to anyone when Cristiano invite you to his house, don’t go. Just say no because this guy, he’s a machine, he doesn’t want to stop training.”
Jerome Boateng: “We can only stop Cristiano Ronaldo as a team.
“In front of goal, he’s like a machine. You can’t shut him out completely, he always gets his chances in a game because of the lines he runs and his excellent timing.
Ian Holloway: “He’s six-foot something, fit as a flea, good-looking – he’s got to have something wrong with him….Hopefully he’s hung like a hamster! That would make us all feel better!”
Gerard Pique: “Cristiano is a perfect machine, a hard worker who always wants to improve.
“He demands a lot from himself, something that he showed at United, but the most surprising thing is that Lionel Messi won four Ballon d’Ors in a row and he still kept on going and had the strength to beat him.”
Kaka: “Cristiano is a machine. It’s not just the way he’s strong, powerful and fast; he’s strong mentally.
“He always wants to win and play. To be the best. For me, that’s the most incredible thing he has.
Jose Mourinho: “It does not surprise me because he is a case study in genetic terms, and mentality as well.
“He is a phenomenon, someone who only thinks about winning and doing it more and more and better. That is why I am not surprised at all what he does.”