Ronaldo: I’d only play the important matches if I could

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Cristiano Ronaldo Leonardo Bonucci Juventus Verona
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The 34-year-old has admitted that he gets a special buzz from playing pressure fixtures that is missing at other times

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he would only play the big games if it were up to him.

The 34-year-old has long been recognised as one of the finest players in the world, winning five Ballons d’Or, and one of his defining characteristics has been his ability to shine when it has mattered most.

He has scored four times in Champions League finals, one for Manchester United and three for Real Madrid, while he has continued that track record since signing for Juventus in 2018, grabbing a thrilling hat-trick to allow them to fight back against Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals.

Given his ability to thrive upon such a stage, it is little wonder he wishes all his matches could be played under such pressure, even though he understands why this cannot be the case.

“I’ll tell you, if it were up to me, I would only play some important games,” he told France Football. “Those of the national team and the Champions League.

“It’s these kinds of games that emerge, those with a stake, a difficult atmosphere, a pressure.

“After, you have to be pro and perform well every day to honour your family and the club you represent and who pays you for it.

“So, always give the best.”

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The 34-year-old, meanwhile, has reiterated his desire to keep playing the game for as long as he can.

“Age is just a number. It does not mean that at 34, 35, 36, you are at the end of your career,” he explained.

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“I can show that with my performances, how I play, the way I play, the way I still feel good, sharp, thinking about the game, more mature. This makes the difference.”

Ronaldo recently netted his 700th career goal while playing for Portugal against Ukraine, having enjoyed a storied career to date that has seen him win the highest honours at both club and international level.

He reached the 700-mark in 984 senior appearances and began his way to 800 with a strike in his last outing for Juventus against Bologna on October 19.