Because this is a World Cup year, I have decided to countdown to the tournament by providing a short soccer/fitness related preview of each of the 32 participating nations. In this installment, I will look at Portugal, a talented European team that has been drawn in Group G, largely considered the “group of death”. Group G includes Germany, Ghana, and the United States, and Portugal will they play their first match against Germany on June 16th.
Portugal struggled somewhat in qualification, relying a 2-game play-off against Sweden, which they won by an aggregate score of 4-2. The star of the Potuguese team, and also one of the best and most talented players in the world, is Cristiano Ronaldo, and he proved his worth by scoring all 4 of Portugal’s goals in the 2-game series against Sweden. Ronaldo is a unique player, in that he possesses world class abilities both on the ball, as well as physically. He has a combination of speed, strength, agility, jumping power, and aerobic endurance, that makes him almost impossible to stop over a 90-minute game, on the ground or in the air. As he proved in the play-off against Sweden, he is capable at times of almost single-handedly lifting the Portuguese team to a victory.
The video in the link here was made by Castrol ‘Edge’, in conjunction with a sports science lab in England. In it, Ronaldo’s physical abilities (running speed, agility, leg power, strength, and balance) are tested using state-of-the-art equipment. He is also assessed in comparison to elite level track and field athletes (some of whom have better running/jumping form and technique than he does). Differences in technique aside, Ronaldo performs surprisingly well, even when compared to elite athletes in sports where running and jumping is the only necessary physical ability.
In my opinion, Ronaldo is the fittest player in the world. His performances in this video, as well as on the pitch, provide strong evidence in support of this. As mentioned previously, he is a player who is capable of taking control of a game, and can win games almost himself. In order for the Portuguese to get out of the group of death, they may need him to do just that. We will have to wait and see what happens in 3 weeks’ time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.