All this despite Ronaldo being one of the most high-profile, and most closely man-marked, players in world football.
This ultimate breakdown video was tweeted with the provocative title: '"Ronaldo doesn't get marked like Messi" - Correct. His off-the-ball movement is too good. It's impossible.'
:speaking_head:️ "Ronaldo doesn't get marked like Messi"- Allu (@GreatWhite_9) November 2, 2020
Correct. His off-the-ball movement is too good. It's impossible.pic.twitter.com/khmSHN69cO
Putting aside the age-old Leo Messi vs CR7 debate, this highlight package is full of exceptional examples of Ronaldo's cunning, as his movement gets the better of elite-level defenders.
Ronaldo's anticipation of where a cross or pass will land is clearly unbelievable. But it's the Portuguese No 7's split-second in-game intelligence that really stands out.
Rather than relying on raw pace, Ronaldo will zigzag his runs, burst through defensive lines just at the moment a team steps up, or make sudden movements away from defenders to create space. It all explains why his runs are so deadly, even at age 35 when he should be slowing down.
It's true . Ronaldo's football iq especially in the box is second to none. He always knows where to go and where to be.- Ahmed Rahim (@AhmedRa2k20) November 2, 2020
Thomas Muller is usually given the label of football's ultimate 'space invader' - but it seems Ronaldo is just as clever at finding room on a football pitch. Especially when it comes to crowded penalty areas.
Ronaldo gave an ideal example of his ability to make the perfect run at the right time this weekend, when he returned from his absence due to coronavirus. Juventus were 1-1 with Spezia when their record signing came off the bench in the 56th minute and - just three minutes later - he was splitting the opposition central defenders wide open with a run, then scoring.
GOAL! WELCOME BACK, CRISTIANO RONALDO! :fire:- MReagan (@matsiko_reagan) November 1, 2020
He's only been on the pitch for two minutes! :v: pic.twitter.com/aMYyYDul4D
The Serie A match finished 4-1 with Ronaldo also adding a Panenka-style penalty. Of course he did.
It's clear that even a month without club football, or even training with his team, hasn't robbed Ronaldo of what makes him special.
Because for all the attention played to his physical attributes, the world-class intelligence behind his off-the-ball movement is a crucial part of what make Ronaldo one of the all-time greats.
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