Ronaldo sets out retirement plans
Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed how long he wishes to continue playing as he collected his latest FIFA accolade, also sharing a touching exchange with Brazilian icon Pele.
Collecting the Special Award at FIFA's The Best ceremony for breaking the all-time international goalscoring record in 2021 by reaching 115 strikes for Portugal, the 36-year-old was one of the few players to attend Monday's event in person.
This allowed for Ronaldo to be probed on his future given his advancing years, and CR7 admitted that he is often asked to address the matter.
"When I go to the pitch, even in training, I still enjoy... the motivation is still there, even though I'm going to be 37 soon," he began.
"I feel good, I feel motivated. I have kept working hard since I was 18 years old. I love the game, I still have that passion and I want to continue.
"The people sometimes ask me how many more years I'm going to play, and I say I hope to play four, five more years," Ronaldo stated.
"It's all about [being strong] mentally because physically, if you treat your body good, it's going to give back to you when you need your body."
On Instagram, Ronaldo said that winning the Special Award was a "tremendous honor and privilege".
"The fact that such a relevant institution chose to recognize me as the Top Goalscorer in the history of FIFA competitions is, for me, the pinnacle of my individual achievements in the representation of my beloved country," he added.
"Now, it’s up to me to turn this award into extra fuel and motivation to help achieve all our goals at Manchester United for this season, as well as to the upcoming play-off matches in March, so that Portugal can be at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and we can all keep writing this amazing story together.
Thanking his Portugal teammates of the last two decades for their talent, professionalism and quality which has contributed to making him a better player, Ronaldo received congratulations on the social media platform from Pele.
Recovering from health scares in 2021, the 81-year-old looked to be in better spirits at his home in Santos and said that he wishes to hug Ronaldo in person when they can finally meet again.
Responding in the comments section, Ronaldo noted that "when Pele talks, the world listens".
"It’s impossible not to get emotional when such an amazing person shows all his respect and admiration towards me," he admitted.
"An eternal hero, a myth for all generations and a true legend of sports. Has he wisely said, we are all in the same team: the team of football! Thank you, Pele!
"I hope I get to see you very soon, so that we can smile together and talk about this game that we love," he signed off.
Hours before the show in Zurich, Ronaldo's pregnant partner Georgina Rodriguez, who is expecting twins of each sex, shared a photo of herself, the forward and his eldest son Cristiano Jr., 11, from the seating area of a private jet.
"My kings" she wrote in Spanish to caption the intimate snap. Later on Tuesday, Ronaldo uploaded one himself which showed the trio on the stage at The Best awards and said that his two accomplices were "always with me" alongside a "blessed" hashtag.