As a teenager, Cristiano Ronaldo was so lanky he was nicknamed “Noodle” by his team-mates at Sporting Lisbon, says Paul Hirst in The Times. The young Portuguese footballer “was not happy with the moniker”, so he snuck into the academy gym at Sporting’s training ground by night, secretly lifting weights to bulk up. Eventually staff caught him and chased him out, shouting at him for putting too much pressure on his body at such a young age.
The episode “typified Ronaldo’s attitude”. He was determined to be the best. Now, at 36, he is the first player to compete in five European Football Championships and the tournament’s record goal-scorer. He can leap to an astonishing height of 8ft 5in.
“His mind is way ahead of anyone else I’ve worked with,” says his former fitness coach Mick Clegg. Ronaldo does five gym sessions a week – weightlifting, swimming, Pilates and endless squats to help him jump higher. Off the pitch, he is just as scrupulous. He eats six times a day, hasn’t touched a fizzy drink since he was a child, and never has more than one glass of wine. The regime even extends to his children – he hates it when they eat chips. Still, like all good Portuguese men he has one vice: a daily siesta.
Nick Cave’s sixties revival
Turning 60 has been liberating, says singer Nick Cave in his newsletter, The Red Hand Files. “Entering your sixties brings with it a warm and fuzzy feeling of freedom.” Suddenly you are redundant and obsolete – “living outside of the conversation and forever existing on the wrong end of the stick”. And life is richer for it.
For years we try so hard to be cool. I should know – when I turned 40, I grew a porn-star moustache and learnt the electric guitar. But 60 is bliss. “What a relief it is to be that mad, embarrassing uncle in the corner of the room, a product of his age, with his loopy ideas.”