Juventus forward, and perhaps the ultimate big-game player, Cristiano Ronaldo has suggested that he would only play in ‘important games’ if the choice were left up to him.
The Portuguese superstar has spent the majority of his career with the world’s the most illustrious football clubs, representing Manchester United, Real Madrid and now the Italian champions, as well as boyhood side Sporting CP.
He has won six league titles and five Champions Leagues in his career, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner relishing the pressure that comes with the sport’s biggest occasions.
However, in an extensive interview with France Football, the 34-year-old appeared to write off the games of lesser importance.
He said, as quoted by juvefc.com: “I’ll tell you, if it were up to me, I would only play some important games. Those of the national team and the Champions League.
“It’s these kinds of games that emerge, those with a stake, a difficult environment, a pressure. After, you have to be a pro and perform well every day to honour your family and the club you represent and who pays you for it.
“So, always give the best. For the rest, I do not attach much importance to the reactions of the public.”
His comments perhaps reveal a little about the star’s form in Serie A since his move from Real Madrid. Ronaldo scored 21 goals in his first season, as Juve picked up the Scudetto with minimal opposition. However, the €100m signing failed to bag the top scorer’s award, lagging behind both Fabio Quagliarella (26) and Duvan Zapata (23) in the charts, while his form against some of the league’s relative minnows was brought into question on occasion.
This season, Ronaldo has four goals in seven and is some way off leading goalscorer Ciro Immobile (10).
In the same interview, Ronaldo went on to discuss his physical condition as he enters the twilight of his career, explaining: “The whole world is ageing. You can be healthy for a long time, but your body is experiencing a natural erosion against which you can do nothing about.
“My goal is to stay young as you get older, so competitive. Give me a player of my age who performs as much as I do at my age at a team like Juventus? It’s very difficult, you know.
“They say that I have an athlete’s body, but it’s not just the physical or the training. There is the lifestyle, nutrition, sleep, the choice of exercises that you do. About 70% of my life is devoted to football. You have to be smart to last. I call it the education of a footballer.”
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