THE clock of Cristiano Ronaldo's existence ticks into its 36th year tomorrow accompanied by a life-affirming truth.
It is the same one sung so lyrically by Faugheen, Graeme McDowell and Johnny Sexton with their uplifting weekend striking back against the tyranny of time.
And the proclamation thundered from the rooftops by Stephen Cluxton, Roger Federer and Lebron James as they continue to miraculously rail against any consensus that ageing athletes should sidle quietly into the antique shop window rather than continue to pursue imperishable dreams.
The thrill of a sporting titan staring down the advancing years gift-wraps the loveliest and most exhilarating endowment to the audience: For a little while it makes us all feel a just a little younger and a tad less afraid.
It is inspiring and enchanting. It offers a tantalising glimpse of how the world might be if Hans Christian Andersen was a deity rather than a mere composer of fairytales and fables.
Consider Tiger Woods at Augusta last April, rising above a long-broken body and a fading aura, rebounding from all those old lurid headlines, to once again, 11 years on from his most recent major conquest, stand, green-jacketed and immortal, at the roof of the world.
The Tiger snake-charmed so many of us out of slumps and slouches. For a little while, his gallop around Amen Corner stilled time, allowing his global congregation to feel vibrantly alive.
It conjured a tantalising illusion of deathlessness.
You didn't have to be a student of national hunt racing on Sunday to feel uncommonly moved – yes, even to tears - by the majesty and grit and turning back of the clock by that equine OAP, Faugheen.
Just 13-months ago, this four-legged maker of magic sent a shiver of icy dread down the spine of his great horse whisperer, Willie Mullins, as he lay prone and motionless for a small eternity on the same cold Leopardstown turf.
Yet here he was, the Champion Hurdler of 2015, delivering the kind of redemption song that invades the heart.
He gallops onwards toward Cheltenham, so many of our dreams in his saddle-bags.
The fantasy, one that, if made reality, will submerge Prestbury Park beneath a lake of sobs, is that the old boy might carry us back through the decades, sprinkle a little of that Dawn Run scale magic and romance across the Cotswold hills.
For all his other preternatural gifts, Cristiano Ronaldo does not strike you as a student of Shakespeare.
Yet the Bard, who, in his sonnets, obsessively fretted about humanity's inability to slow time's charging current, would have admired CR7's conviction that he can stare down mortality, remain an eternally blinding sun king.
Lost in powerful melancholy, Shakespeare lamented: “And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence.”
Yet, here is Ronaldo laughing at the very notion of decline, decommissioning that same scythe.
On Sunday, he became the first player in 15 years to score in nine successive Serie A contests. He swaggers, he pouts, he thrills, certain that his trees will never shed their leaves.
Since December 1, he has scored 16 times in 12 games to help Juventus keep Antonio Conte's resurgent Internazionale at arm's length. The Portuguese is a brilliant freak of nature; a banquet without a best-before date.
Like LeBron, who turned 35 in December, yet is making an ever more compelling case to be awarded basketball's equivalent of the Ballon d'Or, he presents a powerful argument that Tír na nÓg might truly exist.
In his younger days, it was fashionable to lampoon Ronaldo, to mock his narcissism, the adolescent self-absorption.
But, long before tomorrow's 35th birthday, the put-downs had given way to a crowning admiration at his capacity to keep pushing out the boundaries and to remain relevant.
To feast on his own glories yet remain somehow ravenous.
His duel with Lionel Messi – the prince of the Pampas turns 33 in July – has carried both toward sporting old age with the narrative of an epic novel, a story that has altered and elevated their chosen code.
Here he is now, Ronaldo, a grandfather of world football, his egotistical kinks forgiven. Universally respected, perhaps, even beloved.
Still in a rush to bury history under a landslide of statistical brilliance. Sunday's two goals brought his career total for club and country to a simply absurd 722.
At 35, he remains insatiable, the enduring belief in his own powers to continue as a difference-making alpha male a firewall against doubt, insecurity.
And, for who knows how much longer, time itself.
What would Manchester United, a hollowed-out husk, give for the vitality their former galactico – even now, a decade older than the stumbling, indifferent Anthony Martial – brings to every contest?
If Ronaldo looks in the mirror – and everything we know about the man suggests he just might – as reaches the half-way point of his journey between 30 and 40, what will the reflection staring back at him announce?
Might it submit that the reel of this movie is not yet nearly run, that time is just one more opponent to be nutmegged and made look silly.
And that he remains king of the world.