The evolution of Cristiano Ronaldo – beIN SPORTS New Zealand

Ronaldos longevity and consistency over the past 17 seasons is staggering, with 725 goals in 1000 appearances for club and country.

To celebrate a remarkable career to date, beIN 1 will be dedicated to Cristiano tonight from 7pm (AEST), with his best goals and highlights, plus two match replays of the Portuguese star at his devastating best.

Like any opponent, Ronaldo has bamboozled father time, showing no signs of slowing down at 35 fuelling speculation that he could be more machine, than man.

Perhaps the secret to Ronaldos super-human longevity can be found in his evolution into four distinct forms throughout his career.

Wearing Manchester Uniteds iconic number seven jersey comes with a heavy weight of expectations, which a teenage Cristiano seemed to carry comfortably on his strapping young shoulders.

In the six seasons which followed, Ronaldo overwhelmed defences with blistering power and pace, plus a free-kick which defied physics take this sensational effort against Portsmouth in 2008.

Ronaldos flashy tricks caught the ire of Englands no-frills defenders, but theres no denying their effectiveness as Ronaldo helped United to three league titles and one UEFA Champions League triumph in his six seasons at Old Trafford.

Strengths: Pace, Power, Free-kicks, quick feet and tricks.

Weaknesses: Did not score as many goals as other stages of his career (noted he was playing on the wing)

Real Madrid made Cristiano Ronaldo the worlds most expensive footballer in 2009, which marked the second stage in his evolution.

Cristiano Ronaldo transformed from skilful trickster at Old Trafford, to ruthless goal machine at the Bernabeu, able to shrug some of his defensive responsibilities to focus solely on the attacking third.

Ronaldo added clinical finishing to his pace with devastating effect, scoring 201 goals in 199 appearances in his first four seasons, before entering the third stage of his evolution.

Strengths: Added more goals to his repertoire, significantly improved aerial ability.

Weaknesses: Lean spell of silverware two trophies from 2009-2013.

As youthful exuberance began to fade, Ronaldo fine-tuned his efficiency and focussed solely on scoring goals.

This narrowfocussed payed off as Ronaldo lead Los Blancos to 12 trophies in six seasons, including four UEFA Champions League triumphs.

On the international stage, CR7 helped guide Portugal to UEFA Euro glory in 2016, despite sitting out the final with an injury.

Strengths: Ronaldos peak output in goals and trophies.

Weaknesses: Lost a yard of pace, and his mojo with free-kicks.

While he hasnt replicated some of his stats at Real Madrid, Ronaldo

A slow debut season by Ronaldos lofty standards (which included 21 league goals) had his critics revelling, but they were silenced the following year.

The 35 year-old kicked off the 2019-2020 campaign with 21 goals in his first 22 league games, leaving Juventus at the top of the table before the spread of coronavirus brought the season to a halt.

Strengths: Able to change clubs and leagues and dominate at 35. Improved second season suggests he might have found a way to reverse ageing.

Weaknesses: Fewer goals and less productive than his time at Real Madrid.

With the league set to resume next month, we will see if Ronaldo has conjured up another evolution while stuck in isolation.

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The evolution of Cristiano Ronaldo - beIN SPORTS New Zealand

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