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Ronaldo could play until he’s 40, says Wayne Rooney

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Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo is capable of playing until he is 40 as he has adapted his playing style to extend his career, former captain Wayne Rooney said.

Ronaldo, 36, spent six seasons at Old Trafford between 2003-09, winning eight major trophies, and rejoined United from Juventus last month on a two-year contract.

“The last time he played here, he was more of a runner, a great dribbler, with pace and power,” said Rooney, now managing second division Championship side Derby County.

“Whereas now, he’s a goalscorer. I think his game has adapted dramatically.”

Rooney, United’s all-time top scorer, added that his former teammate is a “completely different player” to the one that left the club 12 years ago but can still keep up with the physical demands of the Premier League.

“His ability is obviously one thing, but then he’s also looked after himself massively … he’s still in great condition. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s playing until he’s 40, like Ryan Giggs did, and still scoring goals,” he said.

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“His teammates will have to work a little harder. But if it’s anything like last time – towards the last two years of playing with him – the team allowed him to do that because he scores you goals and goals win you games.”

Ronaldo, who scored 118 goals for United during his first spell, is expected to feature when they take on Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday (Sept 11).

-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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