This week Cristiano Ronaldo delivered yet again, making it clear he does not intend to play in the Europa League. He knows he belongs on the grandest stage. At 36 years of age, he is defying everything. Physics, his age, his detractors, the experts, the pundits, literally everything.

It's becoming a habit. Manchester United are in trouble, and their talisman bails them out, again. Under fire manage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about him after the game, which prompted this comparison from the United boss:

"I'm sure the Chicago Bulls didn't mind having Michael Jordan either."

It's an interesting thought. There are undoubtedly similarities between the two. All worry about United's reliance on the Portuguese megastar aside, what he is doing for them at the moment is almost unheard of.

It's the sort of stuff Jordan did routinely in his heyday, and that's not the only thing they have in common.

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Big Moments

The best players are those who deliver at the crunch moments. Just as Jordan made this a habit, so has Ronaldo. Whenever the team needed something most, both stood tall.

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man" seems to encapsulate the pair. Jordan was famous in a pre-globalisation era for his ability to perform in the clutch moments.

Even before the internet, you were aware that Jordan was the biggest fish in the pond. He was synonymous with winning.

Ronaldo has now been performing similar feats to the famous number 23 for well over 15 years. Back in the 2008 Champions League final between Man United and Chelsea, he scored United's only goal.

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It would be the first of four goals he has scored in Champions League finals throughout his career. In 2014, he would score a penalty to put the icing on the cake in a big win for Real Madrid in extra time.

Finally, in 2017, he would score twice, including the first goal, as Real trounced Juventus. A year later, in the knockout stages of the competition against the same opposition, he would score a goal so good it would earn him a standing ovation from the Juventus fans.

These are just a handful of countless moments where he has stepped up for his team on the biggest stage.

This week, he became the first player since Ruud Van Nistlerooy in 2003 to score in United's first four Champions League games of the campaign.

While not necessarily the business end of the competition, Ronaldo is keeping United in it and at the same time, his manager in a job. Without him, they would be languishing in third in the group.

Just a reminder that he is 36 years of age.

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Just as with Jordan, Ronaldo has come 'home' to audaciously attempt to even further his own legacy.

While Jordan's spell away was a brief one in another sport, Ronaldo's was 12 years spent winning trophies all across Europe. Four more Champions League titles to go with the one he helped deliver at United.

One more and he'll equal Jordan on six, however unlikely it may be.

Aside from that, he's been winning team and individual awards at such a rate that even Jordan would be impressed.

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The Drive

Like Jordan, Ronaldo is a perfectionist at all times. He doesn't drink, he watches everything he eats and he trains harder than anyone.

There's a famous story involving former United player Carlos Tevez. It begins with Tevez attempting to beat United to the training ground in the morning and be there to greet him in the gym.

It ends with Tevez realising that even arriving at 6:30am is still too late to beat Ronaldo to the punch.

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While Jordan was a bully, vocal about his desire to win, and would accept nothing less, Ronaldo takes a different approach.

He works and works, encourages others to do extra sessions and by all reports, has influenced a few to change their eating habits at United.

He is also, first and foremost, a winner. He won't accept anything less. He demands that his teammates have a similar mindset. He wants trophies and accolades, anything less is unacceptable.

It has been reported that he was so incensed with United trailing two-nil to Atalanta at Half Time two weeks ago that he made a speech to the dressing room. United came out and won the game three-two, with Ronaldo predictably scoring the winner.

In this respect, he and Jordan are identical.

If Ronaldo is Jordan, what does that make Leo Messi?

An alien? Kobe Bryant? Perhaps we shouldn't bother finding a comparison and instead enjoy that in their mid 30's, both continue to entertain and delight.

Messi is a completely different type of player, not to mention personality. But no less of a winner or competitor. He dragged Barcelona to second in La Liga last season, a feat that seems even more impressive given their current predicament.

Both continue to defy expectations and prove that they are, even in their mid 30's, peerless. Unique in that we have watched them go head to head for over a decade and share the spoils evenly.

We can only hope that on the biggest stage on offer for club football, the Champions League, one last head to head awaits.

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While some may scoff at the comparison to Jordan, there is no mistaking it, we are witnessing history. Every time Ronaldo pulls on his boots, he defies expectations.

Given all that he's achieved, not to mention his relentless quest for more success, it's a comparison that now sits comfortably. Let's enjoy the great entertainer while we still have the chance to.