Dimitar Berbatov believes his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo can continue playing until at least the age of 41.
- Ronaldo going strong at 38
- On course to play for Portugal at Euro 2024
- Berbatov believes he can continue until 41
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portuguese forward has shown no signs of slowing down despite turning 38 last February. He scored a double for the Seleccao in their 3-2 win against Slovakia on Friday, which ensured that Roberto Martinez’s men will have the chance to fight for the European Championship crown in Germany next year. Ronaldo has been in sensational form for Al-Nassr at club level, too, netting 17 goals in as many matches, and Berbatov sees no reason for him to start thinking about hanging up his boots.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Ronaldo will stop when he wants to stop. When you look after yourself the way he has, have the team around you that he does, the chances of playing football for longer than expected gets bigger,” the former United striker told Betfair. “In Cristiano’s case, I think he has the chance to play for another two or three years. People will say that he’s playing in a slower league that’s not as good as the Premier League but it doesn’t matter. He’s still proving that he’s going strong, especially recently with his performances and goals for Portugal. He’s helped Portugal qualify for Euro 2024, and one day his last tournament will come, of course, but let’s not think about that yet. Let’s just leave him be and I’m sure he’ll surprise us with another decision soon enough. At the moment, Cristiano is going strong so we need to enjoy watching him play until he does decide that enough is enough.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: It has been reported that Ronaldo has expressed his desire to continue playing for Al-Nassr until 2027, which means he could have one eye on a potential final World Cup outing at the 2026 tournament in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Ronaldo has also set himself an ambitious target of scoring 1,000 career goals before retirement. He currently boasts of having 857 goals and if he continues to fire at the current rate, the four-digit magic figure might be conquered.
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WHAT NEXT? Ronaldo will be back in action with Al-Nassr when they host Damac in the Saudi Pro League on Saturday.