Last week it felt as though there was a shift in the tectonic plates of European football as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi cut forlorn figures in the Champions League.
These two titans of world football, who have both previously inspired their sides to European success looked powerless as both Barcelona and Juventus slipped to disappointing Champions League defeats.
Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland ? the heirs apparent to Ronaldo & Messi?s crowns ? ran riot for their clubs. It felt like a landmark occasion, a moment in time when the old guard were ushered out and replaced by the new.
Whilst Messi?s declining influence on Barcelona?s European fortunes have been clear to see for the past two seasons, writing off Ronaldo seems churlish and premature. Especially as he fired a warning at detractors who claimed he was past his best by revealing that he had a biological age of 23.
In this article, we will look at the training regime that Cristiano Ronaldo uses to keep his body in peak physical condition, one which he also claims will allow him to play at the top level of European football until the age of 41.
(Cristiano Ronaldo shocked doctors with his physical performance post-lockdown.)
Ronaldohas managed to remain one of the favourites in the Ballon D?or odds on multiple sports betting platforms at the age of 35, a remarkable feat for a man of his age. He has five Ballon D?or titles in total, and to be still be in the running has shocked football fans around the world. Cristiano Ronaldo has to get a lot of things right to maintain this level of physical and professional excellence , which starts with the food he eats.
As the Rolls Royce of European football, it is only right for Ronaldo to ensure that the fuel he puts into his body is the very best. Which means that everything he eats is as fresh as possible, with absolutely no frozen substitutes.
Rather than eating three times a day, Ronaldo opts to sit down and eat six smalls meals a day which help to keep him constantly energised, which allows him to train with maximum effort throughout the day.
Protein, wholegrain carbs and fruit and vegetables are keen components of his diet. In the morning, Ronaldo tends to favour meals consisting of low-fat cheese, ham, low-fat yoghurt and avocado toast.
Throughout the day he will indulge his love of seafood by filling his plate with swordfish, sea bream and cod, which is the main ingredient in his favourite dish ? Bacalhau a Braz.
Ronaldo has a strict no alcohol or sugary drink rule and adheres it to even when out in a restaurant, where he will normally order steak, salad and a glass of water.
There is a lot of junk science around how much sleep we need to have in order to perform at our peak capabilities. The standard thinking for mere mortals like you and I, is that we need between 7-9 hours? sleep a night to maintain optimal performance.
When it comes to elite athletes, more in-depth research has been conducted and Ronaldo follows the advice of Professor Nick Littlehales, a figure he met whilst playing for Manchester United.
Professor Littlehales who was worked for a number of top European football clubs, the English FA and Team Sky puts paid to the myth that athletes should get 8 hours of restful sleep a night. Instead, his research has shown that 5, 90-minute naps taken throughout the day are key to maintaining peak physical and mental performance.
Since working with Professor Littlehales at Manchester United, Ronaldo has been a keen adherent to this approach, adopting it wherever he has gone.
(Professor Littlehales shares his sleep tips at a TEDx Talk in 2018.)
Aside from dominating teams in Serie A for 180-minutes a week, Ronaldo also workouts intensely 5 days a week.
In training he will complete a series of cardio and technical drills designed to prepare him for match situations, usually focusing on periods of sharp, short and high-intensity running.
However, it is away from the training ground where Ronaldo?s dedication to self-improvement becomes evident.
On his five designated workout days, Ronaldo will commit to hours of cardio and weight training to keep his body in prime condition.
Every day is broken down to focus on one particular body area. For example, when focusing on his legs Ronaldo will complete Barbell Squats, 20-inch box jumps, broad jumps, jumping lunges and lateral bounds.
When it comes time to focusing on his arms he will complete burpee pull-ups, bench dips, press-ups, medicine ball tosses and push presses.
In addition to this, the Portuguese star will supplement his weight training with cardio work like rope jumps and resistance sprinting. Cool downs are no simple affair either with Ronaldo opting for long, underwater cycling sessions to slowly tune his body down.
In a recent interview Ronaldo also revealed that he likes to do sit-ups before and after sleeping just to keep his abs in great shape, something he does even on rest days.
It?s no wonder then, that when he rips his shirt off to celebrate yet another goal that his stomach looks like it was carved in stone.
In August 2003 when Manchester United announced the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for ?12.24 million from Sporting Lisbon, questions were raised over the young Portuguese player?s ability to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League.
It was true then, that Cristiano Ronaldo looked lightweight and ill-prepared to bear the brunt of grizzled Premier League defenders.
However, since moving to England the superstar has consistently proved his doubters wrong, not only by becoming one of the greatest footballers of all-time, but also by becoming one of the fittest athletes of all-time as well.
Despite being 35, Ronaldo?s physical prowess alone proves that it is far too early to begin writing him off?