Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo says he has no plans to retire: ‘I feel proud to have this age and still compete’

Cristiano Ronaldo has no intentions of retiring any time soon, saying in a recent interview that the body of work over his career motivates him to continue at the age of 39.

“I feel proud to have this age and still compete at the highest level,” he said on the latest episode of the Whoop Podcast. “It’s great and it gives me motivation to carry on. If you look at my career for the last 20 years, my level is high. If you are top for 20 years, it’s unbelievable. I do that and I continue to do that. For me, it’s a big achievement.”

He has scored 891 goals over the course of his 22-year career and has won some of the sport’s top accolades, including five UEFA Champions League trophies, three Premier League titles and two La Liga championships, as well as the Euros with Portugal in 2016.

Ronaldo is currently on the books at Al-Nassr, the Saudi Pro League club he joined in 2023 and has scored 42 goals in 41 appearances so far. Though the player did not get into specifics about his long-term career plans, it seems likely that he will finish out his current deal with Al-Nassr, which runs until 2025.

Though discourse around retirement is natural, the 39-year-old said the age gap between him and his colleagues is actually something that pushes him to continue.

“It’s not easy to be at this level,” Ronaldo said. “To still push, to still motivate, to carry on, to score goals, to be in good shape, to compete with the young lions that are coming and that when they play against me, they want to show me that they are stronger and faster than me. You have to prepare very well not just physically but mentally, too. This is the challenge.”

Ronaldo is expected to be named to Portugal’s squad for June’s Euros, which will serve as a chance for him to measure himself against some of the sport’s top-tier talent. It will serve as his first high-profile international competition in Europe since his second spell at Manchester United came to an abrupt end in 2022.

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