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Did Cristiano Ronaldo inspire Tom Brady to end retirement, return to Buccaneers?

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 3/14/2022 Zac Wassink, Yardbarker
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. © Sipa USA Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

In news that, truth be told, surprised few who had been following the many rumors on the subject, Tom Brady officially ended his short-lived retirement and announced on Sunday he's returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for at least one more season. 

Before Brady temporarily made the NFL the most-discussed topic in the sports world on Selection Sunday, he spent a portion of his Saturday watching fellow ageless wonder Cristiano Ronaldo notch a hat-trick and help Manchester United earn a thrilling 3-2 Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. 

Ronaldo and Brady got together after the match to pose for pictures and engage in a conversation that some, such as Jenna Lemoncelli of the New York Post, believe offers proof the 44-year-old either knew then he was returning or was inspired by CR7 to approach the Glazer family about playing later this year: 

The Glazers own the Buccaneers and also have ownership in United. 

Doubters may view this as little more than a fun conspiracy theory, but this isn't the first time Ronaldo and Brady have been mentioned in the same breath this winter. Ronaldo, who celebrated his 37th birthday last month and, like Brady, is widely praised for keeping his body in excellent condition, said in January he thinks he could continue playing at the highest level until the age of 42. 


Video: Frelund: How Brady's return affects Bucs win-total, playoff projections (NFL)

"In my opinion, there is no other sport that has as much workload as football," Ronaldo added when asked at that time about Brady and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James continuing to excel past what the math would suggest should be their physical primes. "The NBA, for example, has long rest periods, but I don't want to expand on that."

Brady likely didn't need an extra push to chase an eighth championship, but it's nevertheless entertaining to imagine none other than Ronaldo providing one last nudge that resulted in the G.O.A.T. of American football playing in a 23rd NFL season. 

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