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At 31, Cristiano Ronaldo Might Actually Be Getting Stronger

This past week Cristiano Ronaldo scored yet another goal in the Champions League. It was his 12th goal in seven such games this year, and his 89th goal in the competition all time — effectively breaking and extending his own Champions League goal-scoring record. 

The translation: Cristiano Ronaldo is good at soccer. OK, that may be underselling. He’s better at soccer than most people are at making cereal (and there’s not a lot to the cereal. A lot of people are really good at making it). While this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking revelation, it is something that warrants a conversation. 

Why, you ask? Simple: he’s 31.

Yes, 31 isn’t old. In the grand scheme of life being 31 is like being a first-year professor. You have some serious grown-up responsibilities — you might even be in charge of a few kids — but really you have no idea what you’re doing (which is OK, nobody does). But in the soccer world being 31 is, well, it’s getting there. 

The wear and tear of playing many minutes over many years in a physical game starts to take its toll, and the body begins yielding to the cruel mercy of father time. That is, if you’re a normal human being. Cristiano Ronaldo is not a normal human being. 

At 31, he’s just as effective as he was five years ago. He still possesses all the elite physical attributes: running fast, jumping high and bench pressing (an estimated) 1,000 pounds. Also, his uncanny goal-scoring touch was evident at the midweek in the Champions League, and the weekend in La Liga

And while we could go on and on about what makes Ronaldo the player that he is, the thing to take away from all this is appreciation: an appreciation for the player Ronaldo is, and an appreciation for the hard work that he’s put into his craft to remain that same player even at 31.

The Real Madrid superstar has now been at the forefront of global soccer stardom for the better part of a decade, and playing professionally for even longer. The consistency he’s displayed year after year is nothing less than remarkable. And the fact that he’s doing it still, at 31, an age where most global soccer stars are eyeballing a potential move stateside to ride off into the MLS sunset, even more remarkable.

But then again, it’s Ronaldo. By now nothing should surprise us.

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