Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers who ever stepped on the pitch, thanks to his disciplined diet and workout regimen. Ronaldo, who won the 2014 Ballon d'Or earlier this year, has natural athleticism, but works hard to maintain his elite level of play.
Anatomy of a Superstar
"Physically, Cristiano is the perfect specimen," Manchester United's former conditioning coach Mike Clegg, told the BBC. "From his height to his natural body type, muscular structure, how much fat he's got in his system, his endurance capacity, flexibility, power and strength. They are in perfect balance."
Ronaldo rarely eats junk food and isn't a big drinker. During the soccer season, his workout routine includes lots of running and weight training as well as practice matches with Real Madrid.
Cristiano typically works out five days a week, doing cardio circuits and exercising his legs, arms, core. "His training emphasizes explosion, endurance, speed, strength and functional movement alongside his many hours of footwork and team practices," said Clegg.
High-Protein Diet Featuring Lots of Fish
Cristiano also follows a healthy diet of fish, meat, chicken, vegetables and fruit during the season. Cristiano has previously said his favorite meal is bacalhau à braz (cod with scrambled eggs and fried potatoes), a traditional Portuguese dish.
When he eats out in restaurants with pals, Ronaldo has said his favorite dish is a medium-rare steak, side salad and a few french fries. “Cristiano Ronaldo eats all sort of dishes as a responsible athlete, but the one he likes the most is fish, such as gilt-head bream, swordfish and sea bass," said Clegg.
Ronaldo, who has been playing soccer since age three, is a study in extreme physical fitness. At 6-foot-1 and 176 pounds, the Portuguese international forward is one of the leanest, fastest and fittest athletes to grace the world stage.
'My Ambition Is Huge'
During his six years at Manchester United, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League, an FA Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup, as well as the FIFA Player of the Year title.
In 2009, Cristiano made international headlines when United agreed to sell him to Real Madrid for a stunning $131 million transfer fee, making him the most expensive player in European football history.
Despite his success, Cristiano, who earns $105 million a year (not including endorsements) still has a burning ambition to constantly improve his game and has no intention of resting on his laurels. "I want to get better and better," he said. "My ambition is huge."
His relentless drive is what separates Ronaldo from the pack. "Ronaldo improves every day," said Clegg. "Look at his numbers three years ago and you think, 'It's impossible he can do better,' and then you look at him this year and he's done better again. He's always improving and because of that, he is the best."
Ronaldo's incredible career and work ethic were profiled in the book Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection. Cristiano will lead Portugal as team captain at the 2014 World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil June 12.