Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said that Cristiano Ronaldo stands out from everybody else he has worked with because of his mentality and drive to succeed.
Ronaldo recently scored his 750th career goal, while he played in his 1,000th senior game earlier this year. But even at 35 and nearing the end of his playing days, Ronaldo remains as good as ever and has already averaged more than a goal per game for Juventus this season.
Allegri was in charge at Juve when Ronaldo arrived from Real Madrid in 2018. The former boss has worked with plenty of elite stars and serial winners during his coaching career at the highest level, but he has chosen Ronaldo as a cut above the rest.
Part of that is Ronaldo never being satisfied with what he has achieved and always wanting to do more, even if he is already legitimately one of the greatest players of all time.
“I had a lot of strong players, with strong mentality. Defenders like [Giorgio] Chiellini and [Alessandro] Nesta, midfielders like [Gennaro] Gattuso and [Clarence] Seedorf and strikers like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic and [Cristiano] Ronaldo,” Allegri told The Times.
“Ronaldo is the top player for mentality. Ronaldo has a different head to everyone. He’s won five Ballons d’Or, five Champions Leagues and one European Championship for Portugal, and that is so difficult, and it’s always him being the difference. Every year he has a new objective.”
Ronaldo will turn 36 in February. But while most players of his age would be thinking about winding down their career, or may even be retired already, it has often been suggested the former Manchester United star could play until the age of 40 and possibly beyond.
In 2019, Ronaldo remarked that he will play on until his body can no longer handle the elite level.
“Several years ago, the age of playing football was until 30-32, but now, you find those who are 40 years old playing on the field. The moment my body is no longer responding in the right way on the field, then it would be the time to leave,” he said at a conference in Dubai.
“My success in my field is the result of hard work, and a way of living. I work continuously to improve my mental and physical abilities. I aspire to continue my studies after retiring from football.”