Mick Clegg worked with the Portuguese at Old Trafford during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign and considers him to be “the best athlete” around
Cristiano Ronaldo is “the best athlete” around and more than capable of playing beyond his 40th birthday, claims former Manchester United fitness coach Mick Clegg, a man who is also backing the Juventus superstar to break Josef Bican’s all-time goalscoring record.
A five-time Ballon d’Or winner is showing no sign of slowing down in Italy at the age of 35.
Remarkable standards are being maintained by a man who has spent his entire career to date being driven by a desire to be the best.
That work ethic, along with no little ability, has carried the Portuguese superstar to the very top of the game.
Speculation has started to surface regarding another potential move, with Juve reportedly weighing up their options, but Clegg can see Ronaldo emulating and eventually eclipsing the efforts of ex-United team-mate Ryan Giggs when it comes to longevity.
“Before Ronaldo, the best athlete in terms of work on his body was Ryan Giggs,” Clegg, who formed part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s coaching team at Old Trafford, told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“He was the strongest, the most attentive to details. If Giggs played at United until he was 40, Ronaldo can play till he is 41.
“Cristiano was the only one able to go beyond the high standards of Giggs.”
Clegg is also expecting Ronaldo to add another entry to the record books that he already dominates.
A 102nd goal for Portugal was recorded in his last outing, taking him onto 746 in his career as a whole.
Only Iran icon Ali Daei (109) has more international efforts to his name, while Pele (767), Romario (772) and Bican (805) are all that lie between him and a standing as the greatest marksman of all-time.
“He will score more goals than Bican,” Clegg added.
“Ronaldo will change his way of playing, maybe his role too, as it happened with Giggs. He’s going to stay close to the top because he’s obsessed with being the best ever.
“He trains a lot, he takes care of recovery and sleep, he has a cook, he knows how to avoid stress.
“He is attentive to details, this is the secret even if an injury can always arrive, it is not 100 per cent predictable.”