Ronaldo’s highest jump measures 2.93m, recorded against Manchester United while playing for Real Madrid in the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League. Get the full list!
(2016 Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably one of the best football players of all time, and a big part of his success can be credited to his athletic ability, which has often been termed ‘superhuman-like’.
As a fleet-footed winger growing up, speed and agility were always Cristiano Ronaldo’s forte, but his transformation into a striker later in his professional career saw the Portuguese phenom add two more weapons to his arsenal: physicality and an astonishing jumping ability.
During his formative years with Sporting Lisbon and his first few years at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo’s aerial ability was average at best.
However, after hours of honing the skill on the training pitch and in the gym every day, Cristiano Ronaldo gradually became a force to be reckoned with in the air. The trait began showing up during the latter stages of his first stint at Old Trafford, but only truly shone through after his move to Real Madrid in 2009.
To sum up Cristiano’s authority in the air, a whopping 112 of the Portuguese superstar’s 700 goals in his club career have been through headers. No other footballer has scored more headed goals than Ronaldo in history. The number is close to 150 if his international goals are taken into account.
Some of Cristiano Ronaldo’s headed goals were so astonishing that his ability to jump high and hang time in the air has been likened by fans to NBA greats like Michael Jordan.
In reality, Cristiano Ronaldo’s jumps don’t quite match up to Jordan’s, who is nicknamed His Airness due to his astounding aerial ability on the basketball court. But the Portuguese footballer’s prowess in the air can outdo average NBA players.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s highest jump measures 2.93 metres, recorded against Manchester United while playing for Real Madrid in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie in the UEFA Champions League 2012–13.
Considering Ronaldo’s height is 6’2” or 1.87m, his vertical leap during the goal can be measured at approximately 1.06m or 41.7 inches. Jordan’s highest vertical leap, an NBA record, measures 48 inches. The average vertical jump of NBA players is around 28 to 30 inches.
Ronaldo’s highest jumps
Height: 2.93m; Real Madrid vs Manchester United (UEFA Champions League 2012–13)
The Real Madrid vs. Manchester United match in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 was a special occasion for Ronaldo. Having sealed a big move to Madrid from Manchester in 2009, it was the first time that the Portuguese star would be facing his former side and mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson.
The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu saw Danny Welback give United the lead in the 20th minute, but Ronaldo’s 30th-minute header helped Madrid eke out a 1-1 draw at home. At the time of heading the ball past Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea for the equaliser, Ronaldo’s head was 2.93m above the ground, making it his highest jump.
After the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, Real knocked out United after beating them 2-1 at Old Trafford in the second leg. Ronaldo bagged the winning goal in the match.
Height: 2.56m; Juventus vs Sampdoria (Serie A 2019-20)
The second-highest jump recorded by Cristiano Ronaldo was a 2.56-meter leap recorded while he was playing for Italian club Juventus. The thumping header at the stroke of halftime proved to be the winning goal against Sampdoria in the 2019–20 Serie A season.
After Paulo Dybala had given the Old Lady the lead in the 19th minute, Gianluca Caprari equalised for Sampdoria in the 35th minute. Ronaldo, however, silenced the home crowd at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium with an astonishing headed goal on an Alex Sandro cross just before halftime.
The most significant aspect of the goal was that Cristiano Ronaldo, 36 years old at the time, remained suspended in the air for almost 1.5 seconds before heading in what eventually proved to be the winner.
Height: 2.47m; Juventus vs Torino (Serie A 2018-19)
A year before his gravity-defying leap against Sampdoria, Cristiano Ronaldo recorded yet another astonishing jump, a 2.47-meter leap, while playing in the Serie A 2018-19 against Torino.
Torino’s Sasa Lukic gave the away team a shock early lead in the 17th minute, and the Bulls looked set for a famous victory against Juventus in their own backyard. Cristiano Ronaldo, however, had other ideas and denied Torino the victory with an 84th-minute equalizer—a thumping header that almost blew the roof off a packed Juventus Stadium.
Height: 2.44m; Real Madrid vs Osasuna (La Liga 2011–12)
In 2011, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to lead Real Madrid to a 7-1 win over Osasuna at the Bernabeu in the 2011–12 La Liga season.
Two of his three goals in the match came through headers, and it was an astonishing 2.44-meter leap that completed his hat-trick against a hapless Osasuna side.
Height: 2.42m; Portugal vs Wales (Euro 2016)
Helping Portugal win the Euro 2016 trophy remains Cristiano Ronaldo’s biggest international achievement to date, and the striker’s three goals and as many assists played a huge part in the historic run.
Probably Ronaldo’s most important goal in the tournament was the opener in the semi-finals against Wales, a team that had knocked out pre-tournament favourites Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo’s astonishing leap and header in the 50th minute after a goalless first half paved the way for a 2-0 Portugal win in the crucial fixture.
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