Cristiano Ronaldo explains the changes and sacrifices he’s making to keep pushing himself among football’s elite
Cristiano Ronaldo insists he remains confident that he can continue pushing himself among football’s elite “for years to come”.
The Portugal superstar has won back-to-back Ballon d’Or crowns but is part of a Real Madrid side failing to impress this term.
Ronaldo turned 33 on Monday, and some have questioned whether he is past his best.
After bagging 61 goals in 2014-15, he notched 51 in total the following year and then scored 42 in 46 last term.
This year, he has bagged 20 in 27 thus far – with just eight coming in La Liga – and speculation continues that with Madrid looking at enhancing their attack, his goal-laden time at the Santiago Bernabeu could soon come to an end.
However after successive Champions League triumphs, plus winning La Liga and leading Portugal to European Championship victory, in the last two years, Ronaldo is continuing to gun for more.
“On a personal level, this is a fantastic time for me. I have a growing family and I am very happy with my life,” he told GQ magazine.
“On a professional level, I have had two very good years in which I have won titles with my club and with my national team. I feel that I can keep going at the highest level for years to come.”
Ronaldo admits he has had to modify his game in recent years.
That has seen the young flying winger become more of a central attacking threat, now less involved in build-up play and more waiting in the final third to put the finishing touches on attacking moves – holding himself for the big moments.
And the Portuguese insist he will continue to make changes to his lifestyle, and his game, to continue at the top.
“Life is a challenge from all perspectives and I try to be at my peak, physically, because this is very important in my profession,” he said. “I have to be at 100 percent and I take this very seriously.
“To maintain this level, you need to make sacrifices. There are certain things that I could do when I was 20 that I can’t do today. You have to try and find a balance. It’s the finer details that make a difference.
“I am ambitious, very ambitious. People should chase their dreams. I chased mine and I want to keep doing so, to improve and achieve even more goals. I believe I’ve had some memorable performances throughout my career but can’t recall any in particular.
“I try to focus myself more on the present than on the past.”
Los Blancos are struggling in La Liga, the reigning champions standing 19 points behind league leaders Barcelona.
And after back-to-back Champions League triumphs, they face favorites Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 – a tie that is likely to decide the fate of coach Zinedine Zidane.