Cristiano Ronaldo news: Portugal captain reveals the secret behind his age-defying performances for club and country
What's the story?
Time and again Cristiano Ronaldo has left us spellbound with his stunning displays on the pitch. Though being pivotal to his side's victory is nothing new to him, at 34, even he has to accept that he might be moving away from his prime.
But, after yet another stunning hat-trick for Portugal in the UEFA Nations League that sealed a mouthwatering clash with the Netherlands in the final, the Juventus star has indicated that he still has a lot to offer and opened up about what makes him one of the top footballers in the world, despite his age.
In case you didn't know...
The UEFA Nations League final, first of its kind, takes place at the Estádio do Dragão, Porto on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner netted all the three goals for his nation in his latest outing, which was his seventh hat-trick for the Selecao and a record-extending 53rd hat-trick overall.
The goals took him to 88 for his country in 157 appearances, only Ali Daei (109, for Iran) has more.
The heart of the matter...
The former Real Madrid forward's return to the international fold, since a brief hiatus after the World Cup disappointment, has been a fruitful one. After a sensational hat-trick which rolled back the years to give us the glimpse of the 'quintessential Ronaldo', the player is eager to add yet another silverware to his trophy cabinet.
He said that for him donning the national colors is always a matter of huge pride and scoring just sweetens the experience even more. He told UEFA:
"Well, for me it's always an honour to come back to the national team. It's my country and wearing this shirt is a great honour and scoring goals in it is the cherry on top of the cake."
When asked the million dollar question as to how he manages to be in his best shape that even makes some of the best athletes hang their heads in shame, he revealed that it all boils down to one thing, his supreme work ethics, combined with passion. He said:
"It's the preparation – my work ethic. I still feel good despite being 34 years of age. The most important thing is your head, to feel motivated and happy, and to follow my path as a player, because I think I still have a lot to give and I feel very good."
He also said that now his team are in the finals, the only thing on their minds is winning the competition. He added:
"Three finals, as you said, and I hope to win two of the three. That would be fantastic and I have hope − so does the team."
UEFA Nations League final between Portugal and the Netherlands is scheduled for 9 June.