As Cristiano Ronaldo scored his crucial goal for Real Madrid against Manchester United last night, he appeared to hang in the air as he powered his header past David de Gea.
Photographs of the goal, which levelled the Champions League last 16, first leg showdown at 1-1, show Ronaldo's knee at the same height as Patrice Evra's head as he made contact with the ball.
It was yet another example of this extraordinary attribute to his game, something which is unique among the world's top players.
Leap: Ronaldo out-jumps Patrice Evra to equalise for Real Madrid on the half-hour - the perfect illustration of his phenomenal leg strength and jumping ability
His jump is higher than the average NBA basketball player, just one facet of an incredible athlete.
When Ronaldo jumps, he generates 5G of G-force on take-off - this is five times the power of a cheetah in full flight.
This enables him to reach heights of 44cm in the air from a standing start and 78cm with a run-up - 7cm than the average NBA player.
This was measured during biomechanic tests on the forward at the University of Chichester in 2011.
He was put to the test in a film for Castrol Edge Rankings made by M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment.
Football machine: Ronaldo was tested on a number of his attributes by Castrol
Powerful thigh and upper body muscles are essential for this kind of leap and so Ronaldo spends hours in the gym training his muscles to maintain his power - the circumference of his thighs is 62cm.
In fact, during a full weight training session, the Portugal star will lift the equivalent of over 16 new Toyota Prius cars.
Another side effect of this strenuous fitness regime is that Ronaldo has less body fat than a supermodel.
This is just the beginning of the impressive features of a footballing machine, however.
Ronaldo's reaction times when on the pitch are so quick they would circumnavigate the world over 31 hours faster than the quickest bullet train.
Impressive: Ronaldo can reach a height of 44cm from a standing jump
Power: With a run-up, Ronaldo can attain a height of 78cm
HOW HIGH CAN HE JUMP?
In tests, 6ft 1in Ronaldo jumped 1ft 5in off the ground from a standing start. With a two-step run-up he jumped 2ft 6in off the ground, higher than the average basketball player. With a bigger run-up against Man Utd, Ronaldo climbed approximately 2ft 8in off the ground. It was a talent he showed in a United shirt too, scoring (above) against Chelsea with a similar header.
HOW DOES HE HANG IN THE AIR?
Because Ronaldo jumps so high, he appears to be airborne for longer than less athletic players. Dr Neal Smith, from the University of Chichester, explains that at the peak of his jump, Ronaldo tucks his feet up, giving him a boost which slows down his descent. That is why it looks like he is hanging in the air.
WHAT MAKES HIM SPECIAL?
Most people who can jump so high are born with a high percentage of fast-twitch muscles, which gives them explosive speed.
YEARS OF PRACTICE
From 12 years old, players start plyometric training — jumping and hopping while carrying a weight bar. They also do gym work to develop their leg muscles, such as lunges and single leg squats. They also jump off boxes on to the floor, and then spring straight back up and over hurdles.
STRENGTHENING KEY MUSCLES
To jump high, you need strong calf muscles, hamstrings, quads and glutes (see left for where they are on the body). When you are in the air, you also need strong stomach muscles, which allow you to move your back, shoulder and neck muscles to head a ball higher. Players use very heavy weights in short bursts to develop these muscles. During a full weight training session, 13st 7lb Ronaldo will lift a total of the equivalent of more than 16 Toyota Prius cars.
Players eat a lot of protein to build muscle. That means plenty of fish, eggs and meat. Some sugars and carbohydrates before training provide energy. Due to his rigorous regime, Ronaldo has less body fat than a supermodel.
Big moment: Ronaldo rises above the Chelsea defence to head home United's goal in the 2008 Champions League final
Phenomenal power: A Ronaldo free-kick accelerates four times faster than the Apollo space rocket at lift-off
Fanciful, maybe, but he possesses such endurance that every season he runs the equivalent distance from Madrid to Lisbon.
It's not just long-distance running either - he will sprint 900 times more in a season than an Olympic sprinter.
Though he was unable to make any of them count at the Santiago Bernabeu last night, a Ronaldo free-kick isn't the kind of thing you'd want to get in the way of.
Robin van Persie found this to his cost last night, when one set-piece struck him in the face.
Scientists have found that one of his free-kicks accelerates four times faster than the Apollo 11 space rocket at blast off.
Pull all these statistics together and it's little wonder it took £80m for Real to prise Ronaldo away from Manchester United.
VIDEO How Ronaldo can jump higher than average NBA player - courtesy of Castrol
One: As the ball is crossed in from the left wing, Ronaldo has already used the strength in his leg muscles to leap a considerable distance into the air above United defender Patrice Evra
Two: The United defender has not realised how high Ronaldo will jump and, at the point of contact with the ball, the forward's knee is at the same height as Evra's head
Three: Evra stumbled backwards as Ronaldo begins his descent to the ground. The ball, meanwhile, is on its way to the corner of the net
Four: Jonny Evans (left) is already resigned to a spectator's role, as De Gea, eyes fixed on the ball, tried to adjust his body weight to scramble across
Five: Ronaldo is by this point back on terra firma, but his header is so well directed, De Gea has little alternative but to attempt a full-length body save
Six: It's too late for the goalkeeper, however, as the ball is a good foot beyond his palm
Seven: The crowd start to celebrate as the ball nestles in the back of the net. Ronaldo looks on proudly as Evra stares in disbelief