Cristiano Ronaldo could play on like Ryan Giggs, says Matt Le Tissier
Cristiano Ronaldo could emulate Ryan Giggs and carry on playing at the top level for years to come, according to Matt Le Tissier.
Ronaldo, who will turn 31 in February, scored twice and created two more as Real Madrid survived a late Shakhtar Donetsk comeback in Lviv to clinch top spot in Group A of the Champions League with one game to play
Speaking before the game on Soccer Special, Le Tissier said he would not be surprised to see Ronaldo continue at the highest level for years to come.
"He's an incredible athlete," Le Tissier said: "It wouldn't surprise me if he carries on playing as Ryan Giggs did.
"He looks after himself, he's got the right mentality; if he keeps his enthusiasm, I think he could do that and he could adapt as a player. I think he could have a fair number of years left in him."
In the wake of Real Madrid's 4-0 defeat to Barcelona on Saturday, manager Rafael Benitez insisted that there was no rift between himself and Ronaldo.
Le Tissier believes the forward, who has now scored in 200 Real Madrid games, has earned a certain amount of influence at the Bernabeu.
"Ronaldo's the man at Real Madrid," Le Tissier continued. "Players should respect the manager but with what he's done at Real Madrid and the influence he's had over the last few years, I'd imagine if you're the manager at Real Madrid, you have to do everything in your power to keep him on your side."
Benitez's side were cruising and led by four goals at one point in the second half, before Shakhtar struck three times in 11 minutes to set up a frantic finish.
Also speaking on Soccer Special, Paul Walsh said he believes Real Madrid's defenders "switched off" after Ronaldo put his team four ahead, and that the arrival of Shakhtar substitute Taison sparked the home side into life.
"They won the game, but talk about making hard work of it," Walsh said after the final whistle.
"I said at one point in the game that they'd switched off a bit and it was only the forward players that were running around because they thought they could score another goal.
"But it was Taison that came on and livened everything up, and in the end you could see that Rafa Benitez was nervous. I think the hierarchy will look at it at Real Madrid and think, 'We've just about got away with it'."