Returning to Old Trafford this season, Cristiano Ronaldo has been a lightning rod for criticism due to the underwhleming performance of the current Manchester United team. Questions have been asked regarding his body language in losses along with his lack of pressing in matches. But at 36, his goalscoring can’t be denied.
Ronaldo has scored 14 goals and assisted three more in all competitions for Manchester United and has scored 20 or more league goals in every season since he was 24. In an interview with ESPN, Ronaldo said, “Genetically I feel like I’m 30 years old. I take great care of my body and my mind. Something I’ve learned recently is that after 33, I believe the body can deliver if you need it, but the real battle is mental.”
This shows that he doesn’t see himself slowing down anytime soon. If he plays past 40 with Manchester United, Ronaldo could become the oldest outfield player ever in the Premier League, passing Teddy Sheringham at 40 years and 272 days old. “I want to find out if I’m going to play until I’m 40, 41, or 42,” Ronaldo said, “but the most important thing is that my daily goal is to enjoy the moment.”
As Manchester United are on their second coach this season and sitting in seventh place in the Premier League, who knows if Ronaldo is enjoying life back at Old Trafford. But with United still in the Champions League and the FA Cup, there is a chance for silverware this season.
One issue with being back in the Premier League is that players are regularly playing three games in eight days and have even more compressed game weeks this season due to COVID postponements. Ronaldo was coy when speaking about the longevity of players in other sports saying, “I think a very important point is the difference between sports. You mentioned some excellent athletes who have already been active for many years. In my opinion, there is no other sport that has as much workload as football. The NBA, for example, has long rest periods, but I don’t want to expand on that.”
So without saying it, Ronaldo would like longer rest periods and he’s not alone, as people have been pushing for a winter break in the Premier League and hope that breaking for the World Cup in November will be an important step to getting that break to be a occurring part of the calendar.