How Cristiano Ronaldo's game day routine sets him up to win

These are the 8 highest-paid soccer players in the world
These are the 8 highest-paid soccer players in the world

Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's second highest-paid soccer player, is competing in his fourth FIFA World Cup, currently taking place in Russia.

While pre-season workouts tend to involve intense training, Ronaldo, 33, says his game days are focused on preparing, both physically and mentally, to win.

From pre-game reggae to post-game pizza, here is Ronaldo's routine on the day of soccer matches:

Cristiano Ronaldo
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Get enough rest

Getting enough sleep is crucial for anyone in any profession, but Ronaldo says proper sleep is especially important for training.

"I go to bed early and get up early, especially before matches. Sleep helps my muscles to recover, which is really important," Ronaldo tells British soccer magazine Four Four Two.

He tries to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night, but like most people before a big day, he has a hard time falling asleep the night before a match.

Fit in a short workout in the morning

Ronaldo says it's key to "fit it in exercise wherever you can."

"You can do an abs workout in your bedroom when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed," Ronaldo tells soccer news site Goal.com. "If you get into a routine then it makes it easier, it will become a habit."

Eat small, balanced meals

"A good workout must be combined with a good diet," Ronaldo says. His general standard for meals is that they must be high in protein and contain plenty of whole grain carbs, fruit and vegetables.

"If you train regularly it's important to keep energy levels high to fuel your body for better performance," he adds. "I sometimes eat up to six smaller meals a day to make sure I have enough energy to perform each session at top level."

Psych himself up

When English soccer player Wayne Rooney, another one of the highest-paid soccer players in the world, played alongside Ronaldo for Manchester United, he noticed a ritual Ronaldo had before games.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts as he fail to score during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Betis Balompie at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 29, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
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"Every match, before the team goes out for the warm-up, he runs through the same routine," Rooney tells Goal.com. "The kit goes on, the boots go on. Not long after, Ronnie turns to his reflection and stares, psyching himself up for the game."

Stretch and listen to music

Once he gets to the stadium, Ronaldo spends an hour before the game staying as relaxed as possible. "I focus on the game, start to do stretching, warm up, have fun, listen to music," he says.


Once the match is over, the star athlete's post-game rituals are just as regimented.

"Recovery is more important to me than actual training sessions due to the large number of games I have to play," Ronaldo tells Spanish newspaper AS. "Winding down and resting is a key part of my day-to-day routine and enables me to perform to the highest level in my profession and prolong my career."

February 15th 2017, Santiago Bernabeu, Madird, Spain; UEFA Champions League football, Real Madrid versus Napoli; Ronaldo takes on refreshments
Laurent Lairys | Getty Images

Grab a bite

First things first: Ronaldo makes sure to eat while he's still at the stadium. While also re-hydrating, the soccer player will have small bites, including pieces of fruit, a slice of of pizza and other carb-based snacks.

Take hot and cold baths

If he's playing in Madrid, Ronaldo heads straight home to take a 30-minute bath, switching between hot and cold water to help stimulate blood flow and avoid any bad bruising from the match.

Go for a swim

After his bath, Ronaldo hops in the pool for a 20-minute swim. "In complete silence, this 20-minute swim helps Cristiano to go over events from the game and clear his mind," AS.com reports.

Overall, Ronaldo says he tries to tackle the future one day at a time.

"Training and physical sessions are most important, but living a relaxed lifestyle helps you to be the best you can be, physically and mentally," Ronaldo tells Goal.com. "I spend my free time with family and friends, which keeps me relaxed and in a positive mindset."

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