Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted he prefers watching UFC and boxing to football, and has spoken to Anthony Joshua about how to extend his lifespan in the game.
Ronaldo’s commitment to improve and desire to compete has made him one of the most successful players ever to grace the sport, but off the field the Juventus man says he has the ability to switch off and focus on other pursuits.
The 35-year-old says he has a huge passion for fighting sports, particularly boxing and UFC.
'Give me a list!' – Mourinho mocks Liverpool’s injury 'problem'
"Playing football is my passion, but I prefer watching other sports on TV," Ronaldo told two-time middleweight world boxing champion Gennady Golovkin in the documentary "Parallel Worlds" for DAZN. "Between watching a football match or a boxing or UFC fight, I choose boxing or UFC."
- Messi to PSG moving closer, Klopp's final push for Wijnaldum - Transfer Notebook
- Did Neymar outshine Lewandowski in 2020?
- Mourinho plays down Tottenham expectations, questions Liverpool's injury crisis
It would appear Ronaldo’s passion for combat sports emerged during his spell at Manchester United.
When I was at Manchester United, a coach boxed with me. I think practicing boxing is useful for football because it sharpens your senses and you learn to move."
At 35, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner could be forgiven for taking his foot off the accelerator, but that is not the case.
He has been in impressive form this term, Ronaldo has four goals in his last two games, and has sought out advice from stars of other sports in a bid to give himself a competitive edge.
"Last summer, I had a chat with Anthony Joshua," Ronaldo said. "At 33 you start to think your legs are going.
"I want to stay in sport, in football. People will look at me and say: 'Cristiano was an incredible player but now he's slow.' I don't want that.
"You can change a lot about your body, but the problem isn't that. It depends on your mindset, your motivation and your experience, which I think is the most complex thing.
"In sport, you can gain maturity. Look at [Roger] Federer in tennis. He's 37 or 38 years old and he's still at his peak, and there are some in boxing too."