Health & Fitness | December 3, 2021 2:08 pm

What Makes Cristiano Ronaldo the Fittest 36-Year-Old Footballer His New Manager’s Ever Seen?

Aside from the billboard-worthy abs, of course

Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo looks on during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 2, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo during a match between Manchester United and Arsenal on December 2, 2021
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Ralf Ragnick has been coaching world football since 1983. He’s been around the game long enough that most consider the 63-year-old German the “Godfather” of his homeland’s heavy-pressing style of play. From 2012 to 2020, he oversaw the development of Red Bull’s four international clubs (in German, Austria, Brazil and the United States), helping them to promotions and commercial success. The collective value of the clubs rose from $135 million to over $1.3 billion by the time he left for a management position in Moscow.

Suffice to say, Ragnick’s been around a lot of players, young and old, over the last four decades. But the brand-new Manchester United manager has never seen an aging player as fit as the 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ragnick was only officially introduced at a press conference this morning, following the firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjær after three-plus lackluster years at the helm. Ragnick was present at Old Trafford yesterday, though, as Ronaldo’s two goals led United to a 3-2 win over Arsenal. He was extremely impressed with what he saw.

“Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half at the age of 36, an amazing top professional. At his age, I’ve never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He’s still a player who can easily make the difference … We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he is more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. His teammates will have to do the same.”

Those words are music to the ears of United fans, who have suffered through an absolute slog of a season — rock-bottom was probably a debilitating 5-0 loss to Liverpool towards the end of October — but also a reminder of just how supernaturally fit the Portuguese star is. He’s supposed to be entering the twilight of his career, and yet he’s just as quick and strong on the field as he was before his 30th birthday.

When Ronaldo signed with United in August, beat reporters gushed that his fastidious ways would likely rub off on young players in need of a bit of health and wellness discipline. The star isn’t shy about what he will and will not put in his body — earlier this year, Coca-Cola’s market share lost $4 billion in value when Ronaldo pushed a Coke to the side at a presser, proclaiming: “Agua!”

It’s unclear how many of the United youth have adopted Ronaldo’s regimen as of yet, but in case you’re curious, and wouldn’t mind looking like this as you push 40, it might be worth adopting some of his day-to-day routines. They include: at least 7.5 hours of sleep, frequent naps, six meals a day for a total of 3,200 calories (highlighted by “lot of swordfish, tuna and olives”), five sessions in the gym a week, a daily swim and Pilates. This video illustrates precisely how he maintains his mobility (and the famous abs).

As for vices, the footballer doesn’t just avoid soda. He doesn’t drink much alcohol, either. Figures. So if you’re deciding between going out this weekend or looking like Ronaldo … do whatever feels right.