Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he prefers to watch boxing or Mixed martial arts (MMA) ahead of watching football games. The Portuguese football icon says though football is his passion, yet, he enjoys watching other sports (like Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC) on television.
Cristiano Ronaldo who currently plays for Italian Serie A side, Juventus revealed that when he was playing for Manchester United between 2003 and 2009, a coach at the club used to box with him. He noted that boxing is good for footballers because it helps to improve their senses and movement.
Over the years, the 35-year-old football icon who has won 5 Ballon d’Or in his football career, has been seen hanging out with boxing icons and Mixed martial arts stars.
Some of the boxing stars Ronaldo has been pictured with include: retired boxer Floyd Mayweather and the current heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua.
Besides hanging out with boxers who he mostly meets while holidaying, Cristiano Ronaldo has been pictured a couple of times hanging out with UFC icon, Conor MacGregor mostly posing shirtless to display their well-built muscles.
In 2016, the former Real Madrid star took his love for Mixed martial arts to the next level by sharing pictures he snapped with MacGregor in the gym where they posed like they were about to fight each other.
Despite flaunting so much love for boxing and Mixed martial arts, Ronaldo insisted that he would not have been a boxer or a UFC star if he was not a footballer. He said from when he was young, he has always known that he wanted to play football.
“Playing football is my passion, but I prefer watching other sports on TV,” he said in an interview with boxing star Gennady Golovkin in a DAZN documentary.
“Between watching a football match or a boxing or UFC fight, I choose boxing or UFC.
“I don’t think I could have been a boxer, it’s tough. You have to be born for that, with that gift.
“I think I was born to be a professional footballer, I thought I had that gift from the beginning, and I said to myself: ‘I’m going to grab this opportunity with my hands’.
“When I was at Manchester United, a coach boxed with me. I think practicing boxing is useful for football because it sharpens your senses and you learn to move…
“Boxing is a little more difficult because you are alone when you compete.
“You work in the gym, you have your team, but they don’t play with you, they just train with you.
“In our case it’s different, it’s more fun because we train, we laugh, it’s a different kind of sacrifice.”
Cristiano Ronaldo started playing professional football in 2002 while he was with a Portuguese side, Sporting CP. Since then, he has won 30 major trophies, including seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA European Championship, and one UEFA Nations League title.
Ronaldo holds the records for the most goals (134) and assists (41) in the history of the UEFA Champions League. He is one of the few recorded players to have made over 1,000 professional career appearances and has scored over 750 senior career goals for club and country.