Cristiano Ronaldo wants to continue playing until he’s 42?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht made headlines last spring when he explained he believes 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady could continue playing until he turns 50. Both Brady and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, Brady’s former coach, have since suggested the seven-time Super Bowl champion could celebrate his 50th birthday as an active NFL player. 

It appears one of the world’s greatest all-time footballers doesn’t want to be outdone. 

Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo turns 37 next month and, per ESPN, leads the Premier League side with 14 goals across all competitions this season. Ronaldo recently spoke with ESPN Brasil and said he could see himself continuing to play at the highest levels through the decade. 

“Genetically I feel like I’m 30 years old,” Ronaldo said. “I take great care of my body and my mind. Something I’ve learned recently is that after 33, I believe the body can deliver if you need it, but the real battle is mental.

“Going through many things with the focus on the end goal of staying at a high level is the hardest thing, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years. I’ve been working and focusing more on working on my mind. I know my body will handle me because I have a lot of respect for it and I listen to it a lot.”

CR7 added: 

“I want to find out if I’m going to play until I’m 40, 41, or 42, but the most important thing is that my daily goal is to enjoy the moment.”

One understandably may compare the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to the likes of Brady and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, but Ronaldo was quick to point out his sport puts a different level of physical stress on even elite athletes. 

“In my opinion, there is no other sport that has as much workload as football,” Ronaldo said. “The NBA, for example, has long rest periods, but I don’t want to expand on that.”

Ronaldo and United currently sit seventh in the Premier League table, six points off the UEFA Champions League places and a whopping 22 points behind leaders and rivals Manchester City. 

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