Cristiano Ronaldo was supported by a former Manchester United fitness coach to play into his 40s and claimed that the Juventus superstar was the only man with higher standards than Ryan Giggs.
With his notoriously regimented lifestyle keeping him in incredible shape, the 35-year-old Ronaldo is determined to play at the highest level for a further five years.
After 672 matches for the Old Trafford side, Giggs retired in 2014, with the winger’s discipline the secret to extending his career after making his debut back in 1991.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Mick Clegg served as a fitness coach, leaving him well-placed to foresee how long Ronaldo would continue terrorizing defenses.
Clegg told Gazzetta Dello Sport that before Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs was the best athlete to work on his body. He was the most strong, the most attentive to detail. If Giggs played at United until he was 40, then Ronaldo could play until he was 41. Cristiano was the only one who could go above Giggs’ high expectations.’
After half-time in Portugal’s friendly with Andorra on Thursday, the Juventus forward came on, heading in the sixth goal in a 7-0 rout to bag his 102nd goal for his country.
In international football, only Iranian Ali Daei (109) boasts a better tally, while Ronaldo also equaled Hungarian icon Ferenc Puscas with the 746th goal of his career in the all-time scoring charts – leaving only Josef Bican, Romario and Pele ahead.
‘He’s going to score more targets than Becan,’ Clegg said.
‘Ronaldo is going to change his way of playing, maybe his job, as with Giggs, too. Since he’s obsessed with being the best he’s going to stick close to the top. He’s doing a lot of preparation, he’s taking care of rest and sleep, he’s got a chef, he knows how to avoid stress. He is sensitive to specifics, even though an accident can still occur, this is the trick, it is not 100% predictable.’