Cristiano Ronaldo is capable of playing until he is 40, says Juventus team-mate Giorgio Chiellini, with the Portuguese being tipped to extend his club and international careers.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will turn 34 before the current campaign comes to a close, but is showing no sign of slowing down.
Having dedicated himself to his profession, Ronaldo is considered to be in peak physical condition at a stage of his career in which many start to see their powers wane.
He signed a contract through to 2022 when joining Juve from Real Madrid over the summer, but is being backed to compete at the top level well beyond that point.
Chiellini told Tuttosport when asked if he and Ronaldo have many years left in the tank: “Can we play until 40? Yes, although I don’t think I will.
“It’s not so much that he comes first to training to make a difference, but rather it’s the way he works: he pushes you to improve yourself.
“On top of that, he’s smart: he arrived in a different league and country but immediately tried to understand the dynamics of the city and integrate.
“He’ll be back for his national team and he’ll be able to play even more than me: I have to manage myself.”
Ronaldo is currently keeping himself out of contention with Portugal, much like eternal rival Lionel Messi is with Argentina.
He is, however, expected to return to the fold at some stage, with national team coach Fernando Santos having expressed his confidence at bringing the Euro 2016 winner back into his plans.
When that day comes, Ronaldo could join a club colleague in the Portugal ranks.
Joao Cancelo made his own move to Turin over the summer, with Chiellini backing the 24-year-old full-back to come good after recent criticism of his defensive qualities.
The Italian centre-half added: “Cancelo? I saw that the coach called him back for a couple of defensive movements he made, but he’s working a lot on this and he’ll learn quickly.
“We know he gives us so much going forward that we forgive him for a bit of amnesia!”