Ronaldo can play at elite level for as long as he wants - Fernandes


Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo can continue playing at the highest level for as long as he wants, insists countryman Manuel Fernandes.

Ronaldo celebrated his 33rd birthday in February but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is still going strong for club and country.

He has scored 14 LaLiga goals and 28 across all competitions for Madrid in a relatively modest season by his own exceptional standards, but netted twice in Madrid's 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie last month.

The former Manchester United forward will look to help Madrid complete the job at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday as Madrid seek to win the competition for the third season in a row.

And Lokomotiv Moscow star Fernandes told Omnisport: "Cristiano is special because of his strong winning mentality.

"He is very aware of what needs to be done in order to achieve his goals.

"Obviously, he takes care of himself and that's another main reason for his success. A true model of professionalism and constant superiority.

"Keeping up his physical condition and wanting to achieve more, he can play at the highest level until he wants to."

Aside from a potential Champions League three-peat, Portugal's captain, all-time leading scorer and most capped player will also be targeting World Cup glory.

Ronaldo helped Portugal triumph at Euro 2016, and Fernando Santos' men now head to Russia in June with heightened expectations.

The European champions will come up against neighbours Spain, Morocco and Iran in Group B and Portugal's hopes are set to rest heavily on Ronaldo.

"Spain are one of the strongest candidates to win the cup," World Cup hopeful Fernandes - who has 11 caps for Portugal - said.

"It is true that the initial clash with them will be extremely difficult, but I'm sure they think the same when they consider their first match in the World Cup is against the European Champions.

"We will be focused on that initial match, but also must consider how difficult the games against Morocco and Iran will be. Morocco has players featuring in the best European leagues and Iran has had an impressive qualification phase and has been preparing exclusively for this competition for over a year now. It's a World Cup level group, one of the strongest."

"Cristiano as always will be in his best form but if you ask him, I'm sure he will say the team's form and belief will be the decisive factors."