Cristiano Ronaldo has recognised in an interview with France Football that he’s “ready to accept” that he has to change position in order to prolong his career, describing it as “not a problem” and something “totally natural”.
Talking to the French magazine (who are the organisers of the Ballon d’Or award that the Real Madrid striker won for the fourth time on Monday), Ronaldo admitted that playing past the age of 31 doesn’t get any easier and is adapting his game on and off the field in order to cope with the challenges that age brings with it.
Changing position "totally natural"
“As human beings get older we lose in some areas but gain in others,” he said. “I try to keep well physically every day. I don’t only think about this season, but next season too. For example: managing games, in the sense of not playing all of them. It’s advisable to be intelligent. You’ve got to do personalised preseasons, and think more about the end of the season, not just the beginning. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And not just for me, but for everyone around me.”
The Portuguese stressed that despite the fact he’ll turn 32 in February – an age when most professional footballers begin to think about retirement –, he still feels good and can continue his career as long as he remains being careful with how he handles his body.
“I’m 31 and it’s not easy, but I feel very good,” he said. “But I realise that the recuperation after games is not exactly the same. It’s a little bit slower, especially when the demand is every three days. It’s impossible to always be at your best, even for the young players. If I do things well in this aspect, I can have a long career.”
When asked if changing his position to more of number nine role would help with this (something which Ronaldo has been seen to be evolving towards more and more in the last 12 months or so), the Madrid man said, “Why not. It’s an idea to take into account. I am ready to accept that things change. It’s not a problem.”
"I want to win everything”
With Ronaldo now having won his fourth Ballon d’Or, questions now automatically turn to whether the player can now go on to equal Lionel Messi’s five trophies as the world’s best player, despite age not being on his side.
“I’m going to try,” he said. “I’ll be in the fight as always. My objective now though is to win Club World Cup, an important trophy. It’s a title the club wants to take. And if possible, La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. I want to win everything.”