Cristiano Ronaldo has long been at the pinnacle of world football. The versatile front man left Real Madrid with more goals than games, slotting 450 goals in 438 appearances. Ridiculous. In his first season at Juventus he hit the ground running with 29 goals and 10 assists in 45 games.
Remarkably, James Milner is as good as Ronaldo at the part of the game crucial to Cristiano’s success: keeping young.
One of the reasons that Ronaldo has managed to keep his spot at the top of the world is his phenomenal fitness. The lethal striker is famed for his athletic ability; his blistering pace, strength and stamina have helped him maintain his world beating form.
Liverpool’s Milner has two Premier League winner medals, a Champions League triumph and – the daddy of them all – an Intertoto Cup win at Newcastle. The Yorkshire born midfielder began his career as a winger and eventually drifted in field. At Manchester City he played regularly at left-back before reaching the peak of his powers in the middle of Liverpool’s midfield.
One of the reasons Milner has been able to adapt to so many positions, and play so many games with such an intense style of play, is his ability to stay young. This summer Milner won the Liverpool preseason lactate test for the second season in a row. A more advanced version of the common ‘bleep test’, the exercise measures aerobic fitness.
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The 33-year-old star cruised to victory, showing he is the fittest member of a youthful squad. If Milner keeps it up he can play into his late thirties and keep up with Ronaldo all the way.