When Cristiano Ronaldo scored his crucial goal for Real Madrid against Manchester United last night, he seemed to hang in the air as he headed past Daʋid de Gea.
Photographs of the goal, which kicked off the Champions League round of 16, in the 1-1 first leg, show Ronaldo’s knee at the same height as Patrice Era’s head when he made contact with the ball.
It was yet another example of this extraordinary attribute of his game, something that is unique among the best players in the world.
Jump: Ronaldo jumps past Patrice Eʋra to equalize for Real Madrid on the half hour mark – the perfect illustration of his phenomenal leg strength and jumping ability
His jump is higher than the average for all NBA players, just one facet of an incredible athlete.
When Ronaldo jumps, he generates 5G of G-force on takeoff, this is five times the power of a cheetah in mid-flight.
This allows him to reach heights of 44cm in the air from a standstill and 78cm with acceleration, 7cm than the average NBA player.
This was measured during the striker’s ƄioMechanical testing at the University of Chichester in 2011.
It was put to the test in a film for Castrol Edge Rankings made by M
Football machine: Ronaldo was tested on several of his attributes at Castrol
The powerful muscles of the thighs and upper body are essential for this type of jumping, so Ronaldo spends hours in the gym training his muscles to maintain his power: the circumference of his thighs is 62 cm.
In fact, during one heavyweight training session, the Portugal star will lift the equivalent of 16 new Toyota Prius cars.
Another side effect of this strenuous fitness regimen is that Ronaldo has less body fat than a supermodel.
However, this is only the beginning of the impressive features of a foot treading machine.
Ronaldo’s reaction times when he is on the pitch are so fast that he would go around the world 31 hours faster than the fastest train.
Impressiʋe: Ronaldo can reach a height of 44 cm from a standing jump
Power: With acceleration, Ronaldo can reach a height of 78 cm.
HOW HIGH CAN YOU JUMP?
In tests, the 6-foot-1-inch Ronaldo jumped 1 foot 5 inches from the ground from a standing position. With an acceleration of two steps, he jumped 2 feet 6 inches off the ground, higher than the average player in all categories. With a fast forward against Man Utd, Ronaldo jumped approximately 2ft 8in off the ground. He was a talent that he showcased in a United shirt too, scoring (aƄoʋe) against Chelsea with a similar header.
HOW DOES IT HANG IN THE AIR?
Because Ronaldo jumps so high, he seems to be airborne for longer than less athletic players. Dr Neal Smith, from the University of Chichester, explains that at the top of his jump, Ronaldo picks up his feet and gives him a lift that slows his descent. That’s why he looks like he’s hanging in the air.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Most people who can jump that high are ???? with a high percentage of fast twitch muscles, which gives explosive speed.
YEARS OF PRACTICE
Starting at age 12, players begin plyometric training, jumping and jumping while carrying a weight. They also do gym exercises to build leg muscles, such as lunges and one-legged squats. They also jump off the oxen to the ground and then jump straight up and over obstacles.
STRENGTHENING OF KEY MUSCLES
To jump high, you need strong muscles in your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes (see left for where they are on the body). When you’re in the air, you also need strong stomach muscles, which allow you to move your back, shoulder, and neck muscles to go much higher. Players use very heavy weights in short bursts to develop these muscles. During a full weight training session, the 13th 7l Ronaldo will lift a total of the equivalent of more than 16 Toyota Prius cars.
Players eat a lot of protein to build muscle. That means lots of fish, eggs, and meat. Some sugars and pre-workout carbohydrates provide energy. Due to his rigorous regimen, Ronaldo has less body fat than a supermodel.
Big moment: Ronaldo gets past the Chelsea defense to head United’s goal in the 2008 Champions League final
Phenomenal power: A Ronaldo free kick accelerates four times faster than the Apollo space rocket at liftoff
Perhaps fanciful, but he has such resistance that every season he travels the equivalent distance between Madrid and Listón.
It’s not just about long-distance running: You’ll run 900 times more in a season than an Olympic sprinter.
Even though he couldn’t make any of the goals count at the Santiago BernaƄeu last night, a Ronaldo free kick isn’t the sort of thing you’d want to get in the way of.
RoƄin ʋan Persie found this to his own expense last night, when a fixed piece hit him in the face.
Scientists have found that one of his free throws accelerates four times faster than the Apollo 11 space rocket at the last launch.
Put all these stats together and it’s no wonder it took Real £80m to get Ronaldo out of Manchester United.
VIDEO How Ronaldo can jump higher than your average NBA player – courtesy of Castrol
PHOTO: How Andy Hooper captured Ronaldo’s incredible header
One: By the time the ball crosses from the left wing, Ronaldo has already used the strength of his leg muscles to jump a considerable distance into the air alongside United defender Patrice Eʋra.
Two: The United defender hasn’t realized how high Ronaldo will jump and, at the point of contact with the ball, the striker’s knee is level with Eʋra’s head
Three: Eʋra staggered back as Ronaldo began to descend to the ground. The whole, meanwhile, is on its way to the corner of the net.
Four: Jonny Eʋans (left) is already resigned to the role of spectator, while De Gea, his eyes fixed on the background, tried to adjust his body weight to climb up it.
Fiʋe: Ronaldo is back on solid ground at this point, but his header is so well aimed that De Gea has little alternative to attempting a full-length, full-length shot.
Six: It’s too late for the goalie, though, as it’s all a good foot past his palm.