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29 Oct, 2019 12:49

‘I’d only play Champions League’: Cristiano Ronaldo opens up on his success and plans to cap incredible career

‘I’d only play Champions League’: Cristiano Ronaldo opens up on his success and plans to cap incredible career

Cristiano Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing down as he approaches his 35th birthday but what are the keys to his record-breaking status as one of football's most potent goalscorers in history?

Conventional wisdom suggests that Ronaldo shouldn't be as effective a frontman as he was in his supposed 'prime years' but, after helping Juventus claim yet another Scudetto in his debut season in Turin (as well as once again being a contender to claim what would be his sixth Ballon d'Or), it appears that the Portuguese is entirely unencumbered by the ravages of ageing. 

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Part of this is down to his incredible ability but, as the player detailed in an interview with France Football magazine, natural ability alone is just one part of the recipe which explains his evergreen greatness. 

"First, talent," Ronaldo answered when asked about the key to being an effective goalscorer. "Without that, you can’t do much. After that, talent without work is useless. Nothing falls from the sky. I would never have got to where I am without my work ethic."

However, this is not to say that it comes easy. Ronaldo is well known for keeping his body as finely-tuned an instrument as possible but he says that he cannot outlast Father Time forever, and that one day the years will catch up to him as they do to everyone else.

"The whole world is ageing," he said. "You can be healthy for a long time, but your body is experiencing a natural erosion, against which you can do nothing.

"You live older, but the quality of life is not the same any more. My goal is to stay young as you get older, so competitive. Give me a player of my age who performs as much as I do at my age, at a team like Juventus? It’s very difficult, you know.

"They say that I have an athlete’s body, but it’s not just the physical or the training. There is the lifestyle, nutrition, sleep, the choice of exercises that you do. About 70 percent of my life is devoted to football. You have to be smart to last. I call it the education of a footballer."

Ronaldo also revealed that he uses meditation to help him: “It calms me and brings me a lot of serenity. I meditate almost every day, working especially on breathing. In those moments, I’m in my bubble.”

Ronaldo doubled down on his longevity in the game, referencing his near two-decade spell at its highest level, and notes that the list of players who show huge potential only to fall by the wayside of the professional game is a long one.

"(Look at the young players) At 25-26-27, how many of them, who have incredible potential, are injured recurrently. Do you really think it's a coincidence? They say it’s all bad luck. But what is the lack of luck? In life, you can choose between following those who are lucky or those who are not. I chose to follow those who are lucky.

"Choose to do the things that make you lucky. God is watching everything. If I have the career I have, it’s because I’ve done things in order. Being at the top for two or three years is one thing, but try to be at the top for 16 or 17 years. Do you think it’s just a question of talent?"

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The superstar also revealed that, if he had his way, he would save himself for the biggest occasions with club and country, where he feels he thrives. 

“I’ll tell you, if it were up to me, I would only play some important games. Those of the national team and the Champions League.

“It’s these kinds of games that emerge, those with a stake, a difficult environment, a pressure.

"After, you have to be pro and perform well every day to honor your family and the club you represent and who pays you for it. So, always give the best. For the rest, I do not attach much importance to the reactions of the public,” the Portugal ace added.