Cristiano Ronaldo and the rule of 30 years

To understand Cristiano Ronaldo’s choice of probably going to play for Sporting Lisbon, thus not a top team, before talking as most articles did about the player’s narcissism and his outsized ego one should have explained what the rule is that most prestigious clubs respond to. This allows one to understand how it is possible that he found himself in this situation at the age of 37.

Instead, an article in the New York Times explains this concept well, which refers to when a footballer is considered old and considers the age of 30 as a watershed between two distinct career phases.

The age of 30 has always been considered a milestone. Alex Ferguson you have soccer players over30 provided an extra day of rest. Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s coach, once midfielders and strikers reached 32, was only willing to offer them one-year contract extensions.

In short, after the age of 30 one is officially considered old.

Of course there are exceptions, Tottenham bought 33-year-old Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic and it was the first time since 2017 that the club took a player of this age. Liverpool has not done so since 2016. Manchester City has not paid a signing for an outside player over the age of 30 in nearly a decade. Goalkeepers, who many believe boast greater longevity, are the only players who have been granted an exception. This is because the game has become much more intense and fast-paced, and younger players are considered better equipped to handle this load than older ones.

Into this big picture comes Cristiano Ronaldo, who is 37 years old, and however much he is coached, he no longer has the characteristics that made him unique. Added to this is his lack of interest in changing roles and responsibilities within the team. As a result, the 30-year rule and his mental rigidity have prevented him from having a role in a top team among those fighting to win the Champions League. Returning to Sporting Lisbon will not be easy, however, as the team cannot be centered on Ronaldo’s play while it would be more convenient for him to mentor the players and play a role similar to Ibrahimovic’s role in AC Milan. It is a difficult operation because it would mean for him to think and act in a different way from his usual one but it is not certain, also, that it corresponds to the interests of the club and the coach. We shall see.

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