Cristiano Ronaldo may maintain he has a few good years left yet in football, but he's already considering life outside the beautiful game – and, apparently, a career in the movie business.
The Portuguese star, 34, was the headline act at the Dubai International Sports Conference at Madinat Jumeirah on Saturday, where he discussed the secret to his success, his longevity and even plans away from the profession that has made him one of the most recognisable athletes in the world. And, it seems, that includes an unlikely sideline in Hollywood.
"I hope I live more than 50 years more and I want to prepare to face the obstacles of a new life, to do things I don’t know how to do," Ronaldo told a packed conference ballroom. "For instance, to participate in a movie. But you need to have a good preparation, you need to have top English, and then you don’t have to be nervous.
"I’m not nervous in football, because I'm already prepared to play football. But in order to play in a movie I have to prepare myself. When you go out of your comfort zone that is a real challenge.
"And this is what I want to achieve: to surprise other people. Until now, my life was very good in all areas and I think I’m a complete, holistic person. And so I want to continue to study to learn something new."
Ronaldo credited his sustained spell at the game's summit to a balanced lifestyle and knowing his body “100 per cent”.
In Dubai for an extended holiday as Serie A takes its winter break, the Juventus forward has been busy training too, as he strives to help the Turin club retain the Scudetto – currently they sit second, behind Inter Milan on goal difference – and capture the Uefa Champions League for the first time in 24 years.
“I want to play for a few more years,” Ronaldo said. “It is not possible to win all the titles, but you need to be humble. I know I have achieved so much, but I know that others also achieve and there are many great, great players.
"There are no secrets to success. If you want to keep the highest level you have to sacrifice. I've been playing football for many years, but with each past year, my maturity is growing.
“But there is no secret. It is just love what you do. I have been doing this for 13-14 years at the top, but you have to love it or you will not succeed. It is about a team, to help each other to reach the top.
“Ambition is part of what you are. In the last 15 years the most important word to me is passion. You must be motivated.”
Having climbed to 712 career goals, Ronaldo was asked about breaking Pele’s all-time official goals record, with the Portugal captain needing 45 to draw level.
“I never thought about the long-term because it’s a natural process,” Ronaldo said. “Even when you are talking about Pele, it's not an obsession. Obsessions are not good. Things should flow freely, and if you are prepared then God will help you. I don’t have this obsession of beating Pele. Pele will always be Pele. All players would like records that are unbeaten. In the future other players will come and they will beat mine.
“So it's very important that we don’t get into an argument. We have to accept things as they are. To be among the stars like Pele, he is pride for every footballer.
“But every year for me is a good year; I’ve never had a bad year. And I have excellent teammates, an excellent team and always have the intention of winning. And I’m sure next year will be the same or even better.”