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Cristiano Ronaldo

Man Utd forward Ronaldo aims to continue playing until he's at least 42

6:03 PM GMT+8 15/01/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd 2021-22
The Portuguese superstar claims that he feels as young as 30 and that the battle for longevity is more mental than physical

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed what his goals are in regards to how long he plans on playing football professionally.

The Portuguese attacker rejoined United last summer, signing a contract until the summer of 2023 but it was unclear whether that will be his last.

However, the 36-year-old insisted he plans on playing for as long as his body can handle, setting an aim of lasting until his early 40s.

What's been said?

Ronaldo told ESPN: "I feel happy to be a player who has shown who, in my case, longevity has been a crucial factor for me to keep playing at a high level, putting in good performances.

"Genetically I feel like I'm 30 years old. 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.

"Life has to have important moments, for better or for worse, but when you fall you must have the strength to get up. I'm happy, I want to stay here and see what will happen.

"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."

Who is the oldest player to play for Man Utd?

Ronaldo will take inspiration from Ryan Giggs, who was also a winger at United who adapted his game, retiring at the incredible age of 40.

Giggs was United's oldest ever outfield player, with goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar beating him by a little more than a month for the overall record.

The Welshman focused on his diet and yoga to help him last at the peak of football for as long as he did.

As for the oldest player to feature in the Premier League at any club, that record is held by former Manchester City goalkeeper John Burridge, who played in England's top flight at the age of 43.

Teddy Sheringham, meanwhile, is the oldest outfield player, having featured for West Ham at 40 years and 272 days back in 2006.

Will Ronaldo be fit to face Aston Villa?

There had been suggestions that Ronaldo would not be fit enough to face Aston Villa in the Premier League, having missed the FA Cup clash between the two sides.

Ronaldo himself had claimed that he "felt good" and that he would assess his fitness after training on January 13.

And Ralf Rangnick was confident that Ronaldo would be fit enough to play at Villa Park, saying at his pre-match press conference on January 14: "I think they (Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Phil Jones and Harry Maguire) will be available.

"They only trained yesterday for the first time, Cristiano yesterday, Harry the day before yesterday, so as it seems now we have to wait for the final training session this afternoon but, as it seems right now, they should be available."

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