Neil Humphreys: Different Ronaldo, same stellar form
Real star is the greatest of all time when it comes to reinventing himself
On first viewing, the documentary Ronaldo looks like the most shameless example of self-promotion since Keeping up with the Kardashians.
But the film is really about keeping up with the game itself.
It's a tribute to one man's obsession with reaching a peak and doing whatever it takes to stay there.
In this regard, Cristiano Ronaldo stands alone. He is the master of reinvention.
His stunning hat-trick against Atletico Madrid yesterday morning (Singapore time), in a 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win, was a chilling reminder that when it comes to the basic, Darwinist principles of evolution, Ronaldo really is the greatest of all time.
This GOAT doesn't bleat about his waning physical powers, he defies them.
He manipulates them until they serve a different function that achieves the same objective: to stay on top.
Ronaldo's youthful speed and step-overs have given way to peerless, penalty-box dominance.
Old Trafford's wing wizard has morphed into the beast of the Bernabeu, a tanned, toned behemoth of chiselled pecs and goal-scoring reliability.
Through sheer force of will, Ronaldo has switched from an early rock 'n' roll star into a latter day Johnny B. Goode.
He can no longer run or dribble so well, but he can score goals like he's ringing a bell.
When Karim Benzema was substituted after 77 ineffective minutes, only Real keeper Keylor Navas and substitutes Nacho Fernandez and Marco Asensio had touched the ball fewer times than Ronaldo. But he made the most of it.
There isn't another footballer who manages and maximises the finite resources at their disposal quite like Ronaldo.
Like a series of Survivor, the Portuguese narcissist lives in his own hypnotic reality show and continues to outwit, outplay and outlast them all.
At 32, Ronaldo is a year older than Wayne Rooney, the once senior partner in their Manchester United relationship.
Rooney now fits the template of what a former teenage terrier is supposed to look and play like in his early thirties after being pummelled since puberty.
Rooney has become a cautionary tale, but Ronaldo remains a rebel with a cause, his own, a mission to mess with his body clock.
He drifted away from the wing and towards the penalty spot to extend his membership at the game's pinnacle for at least another five years.
But the idea that his prolonged, prolific career benefitted from knocking in goals against La Liga training cones like Granada and Osasuna is absurd; a myth perpetuated by Premier League zealots unable to see past the flag of Saint George.
Ronaldo has now knocked in 103 goals in 138 Champions League games, 13 of them in semi-finals. He has scored eight in three games - five against Bayern Munich and a hat-trick against one of the tournament's meanest defences.
In fact, he's now scored more Champions League goals than Atletico Madrid, an entire club stuck on 100 and humiliated by one man.
And yet, ridiculously, Ronaldo has endured booing from the Bernabeu this season.
The Madridistas are not renowned for their patience when their Galacticos allegedly begin to dim.
For some, six goal-less months in the Champions League indicated the inevitable descent of Superman.
Each slice of birthday cake was coated with kryptonite.
So he retreated to his fortress of solitude: his customised gym at home.
If you haven't already, do watch the documentary Ronaldo.
At first, the endless push-ups, chin-ups and sit-ups along with the admiring glances in the omnipresent wall of mirrors give the impression of a recluse lost in his own ego.
But it's not so much preening as it is perfecting what's left of an ageing body.
The lonely, repetitive workouts are the price Ronaldo pays for the reward of towering over Stefan Savic to score Real Madrid's opener.
The leg presses led to the unstoppable half-volley. The late-night swims in an empty pool made the late-night run for the hat-trick possible.
Ronaldo lives like a monk to make a monster at work.
When the goals against Atletico were celebrated, the fingers went up to his mouth, miming a whistle and mocking the Bernabeu's intolerant minority.
The message was unequivocal.
Save the obituaries. Count the goals and marvel at the evolution, the survival of the fittest and finest striker of his generation.
He'll only increase the squats, pump more weights and defy the ageing figure in the mirror for as long as possible.
He will not go gentle into the good night.
He'll go raging, chest thumping and scoring.
Ronaldo can't turn back time. But it's one hell of a privilege watching him try.