Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has hinted that he could choose to retire from professional football as early as next year at the age of 35. However, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner equally suggested he could continue until he turns 40 or 41.
Ronaldo has barely missed any football since breaking into the Sporting CP first team 16 years ago and has made an astonishing 964 career appearances for club and country as he awaits the start of the new Serie A season with Juventus.
He hasn’t played fewer than 40 club games in a single season since his first year with Real Madrid in 2009/10, with his debut campaign at Sporting the only other time in his entire career.
And yet, the player still looks as fit and as healthy as ever, such is the care he takes of his body.
“I don't think about [retirement]," Ronaldo told Portuguese broadcaster TVI, via Goal.
“Maybe I can finish my career next year...but I can also play up to 40 or 41. I don’t know. What I always say is to enjoy the moment. The gift is excellent and I have to continue to enjoy it.”
His greatest motivation appears to be making history and setting new records.
“Are there any football players who have more records than me? I don’t think there are any footballers who have more records than me,” he mused.
Ronaldo is already the second highest male international goalscorer of all time, with his 88 strikes for Portugal second only to Ali Daei’s tally of 109 for Iran.
Pele’s overall goal tally is getting closer and closer. The Brazilian is revered as the greatest goalscorer of all time after netting 757 in official competition for Santos, New York Cosmos and Brazil during a 21-year career. Ronaldo, meanwhile, is currently on 689 career goals.
Playing until the age of 41 would still give him another seven years in the game.