Ronaldo is defying age, says Portugal's footballer-turned-paddler Monteiro

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Ronaldo is defying age, says Portugal's footballer-turned-paddler Monteiro

33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Monteiro played together at Sporting Lisbon till the latter was forced to quit football due to a liver condition.

Cristiano Ronaldo has redefined the norms of fitness with his tremendous athleticism and god-like physique.

And it didn't take time for Portuguese table tennis sensation Joao Monteiro to call the 33-year-old a leading example in the world of sports.

"He (Ronaldo) is the greatest example that age doesn't matter as long as you take care of your body. Of course, football takes that kind of fitness level but he has changed the dynamics with the kind of effort puts in. He is a proof that you can still play a sport at the highest level regardless of your age," Monteiro told Mail Today.

Fate took an interesting turn in Monteiro's life. Once teammates with the Real Madrid superstar at Sporting Lisbon, Monteiro's football career was short-lived when a liver condition forced him to quit the sport and eventually take up table tennis.

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Despite early signs of a future star, Ronaldo's table tennis skills were impressive, according to Monteiro.

"When I was young, I used to play for Sporting club in Portugal. He (Ronaldo) liked table tennis a lot, everytime he came and played a few games before training. He enjoyed it a lot. He had the talent. He was making the top spin and I'm sure he would be a good table tennis player," laughed the 34-year-old Portuguese, who plays for Maharashtra United in the ongoing Ultimate Table Tennis league.

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Drawing comparisons with football, Monteiro pointed out that the lack of financial powerhouses in table tennis has hurt chances of players trying to get to the peak of their fitness levels.

"The thing is, there is a lot of money is involved in football. All the good teams have a big staff for physical training. Good physios and fitness coaches. Players like Ronaldo, they recover very easily. Table tennis is an individual sport after all. It's difficult to sustain and have the same kind of regime. If you look at Japanese players, they have their physical coaches and sparring partners at every world tour now. Maybe that's the reason they are slowly turning into a table tennis powerhouse," he explained.

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The 2015 European Championships team gold winner also heaped praise on young Indian players, saying that they have shown brilliant improvement in recent years.

"They improved a lot. Few are in top 100, a few in top 40, they made big improvement over the years. Anthony is a very good player. I like his way of playing, he's a fighter, for a team it's very good to have player like him. He is well known in the world tour," he summed up.