Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s best athlete. He may even be the world’s fittest man. But is he satisfied? Not even close. What does he have and why is he the way he is? Here are just a few elements:
X Factor – Ronaldo is able to process the game faster than other players, says Zoe Wimshurst, Ph.D., director of Performance Vision. Elite athletes develop faster eye movement, looking at up to seven places per second versus the average person’s max of five. When he’s dribbling at a defender, he watches for movement clues while assessing thousands of permutations drawn from hours of play—and he does this unconsciously.
Speed – In a typical game, Ronaldo sprints 33 times at a top speed of about 21 miles an hour. His explosive acceleration and high soccer IQ enable him to time diagonal runs that outsmart the offside trap. He also has great balance and body control, and can change direction quickly—so when dribbling, he’s the ultimate ankle breaker.
Strength – Ronaldo can kick explosively, powering the ball at a ferocious 80 miles an hour. Superior technique enables him to wrap the side of his foot around the ball when taking free kicks, making the ball spin so much that it has a variable trajectory of up to 9 feet—leaving the opposing team’s goalkeeper helpless.