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Cristiano Ronaldo quite literally reached new heights on Wednesday when he took to the skies in remarkable fashion to score the decisive goal in Juventus' 2-1 win over Sampdoria (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).
Meeting a looping cross at the far post, Ronaldo sprang into the Genoa night air, hung in stasis for what felt like an age and then powered his header past the goalkeeper.
As part of their official match report, Juventus described Ronaldo's leap as "worthy of Michael Jordan" and claimed his feet reached an altitude of 71 centimetres (2 feet, 4 inches) -- which is roughly one-third the height of a regulation crossbar.
Sky Italia also reviewed the footage and assessed that Ronaldo's head reached a maximum height of 2.56 metres (8 feet, 5 inches) as he hung in the air for 1.5 seconds.
Like many who witnessed the gravity-defying goal in real time, Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri was still completely befuddled by it after the final whistle.
"When they score these type of goals you can only shake their hands, those are worth the price of the ticket," Ranieri told Sky Italia.
"Ronaldo did something you see in the NBA, he was suspended for an hour and a half. There's nothing to say, only compliments."
Maurizio Sarri's response was a little more succinct, with the Juve coach summing up his initial reaction to Ronaldo's goal in just two words, one of which required bleeping out.
Ronaldo himself chose to play down the goal, possibly because he's become accustomed to breaking the laws of physics.
"I didn't know these numbers. I'm very happy to have helped the team win. The important thing is to give Juve a hand and win titles," he said.
"We had a good attitude for 90 minutes and it's a deserved victory."
How very diplomatic of a man who has just returned from near-Earth orbit.
Ronaldo has just scored a far post header where his feet were higher than the crossbar....it's only a slight exaggeration. Ridiculous leap.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 18, 2019
Messi can't do this... https://t.co/KoePBYqLFv— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 18, 2019
My three year old daughter watching that Ronaldo goal "how does he fly like that?!" An absolute show of athleticism 😱👏🏼#Ronaldo— Fiona Moore-McGrath (@fionamoore10) December 19, 2019
Cross delivered - Ronaldo is hanging— Andile Ncube (@AndileNcube) December 19, 2019
Ball leaves foot - Ronaldo is hanging
bathroom break - Ronaldo is hanging
Ball takes flight - Ronaldo is hanging
back from break- Ronaldo is hanging
A lifetime later...After changing his shirt and had a drink,comes down and the net rattles
Perhaps the only person not shocked by Ronaldo's display of immense physical prowess was former teammate Medhi Benatia.
In an interview with RMC Sport last week, Benatia recounted a Juventus game that he and Ronaldo had both spent on the bench and the exchange of texts thereafter that outlined just how "not normal" his ex-colleague is.
"When we were on the bus returning to Turin, Ronaldo sent me a message saying, 'What are you going to do now?'"
"I replied: 'It's 11 at night and I'm going home, why?' He replied: 'Do you feel like having a gym session? I didn't sweat today and I must. You want to come with me?'
"I told him 'I just want to go home and sit down and watch TV.'
"Ronaldo eventually went to the gym while the rest of us went home. I just thought he is not normal. He has sacrificed his life for football."
Of course, it's not like Ronaldo hasn't made a habit of out-jumping defenders during his career.
He's always had an explosive spring on him, as was highlighted when he had his physical abilities scientifically tested and analysed by Castrol EDGE in the 2011 film "Ronaldo Tested to the Limit."
In the film, Ronaldo leaps 78 cm (2 feet, 7 inches) into the air -- which we're informed is higher than the average basketball player.
Forget the NBA: Wherever Ronaldo is playing, that's Where Amazing Happens.