For most people, 33 years old is nothing. Many of us will slog for at least another 30 years before we can retire (Ha! Like we’ll ever retire) and enjoy our old age.
However, for professional footballers, 33 is the twilight of their career. The body slows down, the muscles and joints can’t hold up, and the injury lay-offs become harder and harder to bounce back from.
Not if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo, it turns out.
The Portuguese superstar has just signed for Italian Serie A side Juventus and has promptly set about dismantling everyone’s preconceptions about what athletes should be able to do at his age during a medical examination for his new club.
The former Real Madrid man is a freak, to be quite honest with you. He’s a freak, but in the best possible way.
The striker’s physical state has been compared with that of a 20-year-old. That’s right, he has the body and fitness of a person 13 years younger than he actually is.
They say that God doesn’t give with both hands. What chance do the rest of us have?
Here’s the hard facts. His body fat is just 7 percent. That is lower than the average professional footballer, who has around 10 or 11 percent body fat.
The muscle mass of his body is 50 percent. The man is literally half muscle. An average professional footballer is usually somewhere around 46 percent muscular mass. Cristiano wins again.
Oh, and during the recent World Cup in Russia, he recorded the fastest running speed of anyone at the tournament. So much for older players ‘losing that yard of pace’.
It’s not just the Juventus medical team trying to beef his stats up, either. Real Madrid last year compared his physical state to that of a 23-year-old.
There’s also something called the ‘Athletic Performance Index’ that measures – well – how athletes perform, stupid.
If you look at a graph, it tends to get lower the older players get. No so with CR7, of course.
He had the highest score on the Athletic Performance Index out of anyone at the World Cup. Bloody hell, the guy is impressive.
Obviously, there is more to football than simply being the most athletic person on the pitch. Just look at greats of the game like Maradona, George Best, or Paddy McCourt.
That being said, there is no doubt that Cristiano can still hang with the big boys in terms of technique, too.
Hell, Juventus basically signed him off the back of that frankly absurd goal that he scored in the Champion’s League against them last season. Erm, ok, that and his astonishing ability and storied career, of course. And probably something to do with shirt sales.
There is a bit of uncertainty about whether he will be a success in Italy at the moment, but one thing is certain – Cristiano isn’t ready to collect his gold clock and retire just yet.