Former Striker Explains Why Cristiano Ronaldo’s Heading Technique Is The Best In The World

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Cristiano Ronaldo is just a joke in the air, isn't he? When the delivery is on point, it's just inevitable that he's going to rise highest.

Ronaldo has notched over 100 headed goals in his glittering career and will likely go down as the greatest header of a ball in the history of football.

His combination of leap, hang time and then the actual force of heading the ball is truly next level. And former striker Tony Cascarino, who previously played for Gillingham, Millwall and Chelsea, has a detailed explanation as to how Ronaldo is so efficient in the air.

"The range of headers Ronaldo can score is extraordinary and he has worked so hard to reinvent himself from the tricky winger who made his name at Manchester United a decade ago," he wrote in his column for the Times, last year.

"The 34-year-old Portuguese has taken heading to a new level and has mastered so many different types of header when most players are lucky to be good at one or two.

"I always thought the best aspect of my game was my heading and there were not many better than me in England while I was playing.

"But Ronaldo is a class above anyone who has ever played the game.

"I've tried to explain before about how there are as many different ways of heading a football as there are kicking one.

"You can head with the left side, the right side, the forehead, or the top of the head.

"Ronaldo's heading is like a perfect golf swing, everything is working in tandem and when it all clicks there is little you can do to stop him.

"His body shape has changed a lot over the years and he has clearly spent a lot of time working on his upper body strength.

"This allows him to lift himself into the air and get his body in the right position to head the ball.

The strength of his thighs is also pivotal to the height of his leap. I had a very skinny body but had massive thighs, they were too big for my body.

"Ronaldo has thighs that look naturally big but he has done plenty of work to bulk them up and they play a key role in the explosiveness of his jumping."

The science behind Ronaldo's heading ability is also especially impressive.

During a series of biomechanic tests on the forward at the University of Chichester in 2011, with the whole thing captured in the in-depth Cristiano Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit documentary - it emerged that Ronaldo is able to jump higher than an average NBA player.

Able to generate 5G of G-force on take-off and helped by a thigh circumference of 62cm, Ronaldo can reach heights of 44 cm from a standing start and 78 cm when he has a run-up - 7cm more than the average basketballer.

He also recorded a force of five times his body weight.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.
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