Wednesday 7 December 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo says he can keep playing until he is 41 after signing new five-year deal

Mark Mann-Bryans

Published 07/11/2016 | 14:14

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new five-year deal with Real Madrid but insists it will not be his last as he targets another decade at the top.

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The 31-year-old formally signed a his fresh contract at the Bernabeu after it was announced on Sunday he would extend his stay in the Spanish capital, and now he is looking to play on into his 40's.

Ronaldo, who has scored more than 370 goals for Real Madrid on his way to winning two Champions League titles, the LaLiga crown, and two Copa del Reys as well as the Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, will be 36 when his new contract expires.

But the three-time Ballon d'Or winner, who was labelled as a "living legend" by Real president Florentino Perez during the press conference announcing his new deal, says that will not be the end of his playing days.

"I want to stay here and finish here," he said.

"It is not my last contract, I want to keep going until I'm 41, but now the most important thing is this special moment that makes me happy and my family too.

"I'm at the best club in the world...Everyone knows what my thoughts are, I want to continue being the best, I want to wear this shirt with pride.

"I'm sure I'm going to contribute the same over the next five years as I have in my time here, scoring goals and winning titles.

"I'm very happy. It is a dream come true to extend my contract here at the club. All I want to do is continue rewriting history here at this club.

"No-one knows what the future holds, of course I would like to end my career at this club, this is my penultimate contract, I want to be here for many years to come."

The former Manchester United man signed his new deal alongside Perez, having taken over as Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer since his move from Old Trafford in 2009.

He also captained Portugal to Euro 2016 glory in the summer, the country's first major silverware, and admitted this year has been one he could only have dreamt of.

"I'm on the crest of a wave," he said.

"Look back at my last season; win the Champions League with Real Madrid, win the European Championship with Portugal and sign a five-year deal at Madrid, what more can I say? It is a dream year, unbelievable, something I thought was impossible.

"I am a dreamer. But another thing is achieving your goals, it is true the stats are unbelievable, I never expected to score so many goals in such a short period of time...and I want to keep rewriting history.

"Five years is a long time and I will try and give my best, there will be highs and lows during a footballer's career. I still have things to learn. I want to win more and more for the best club and to continue learning."

Asked how he had changed as a player since his unveiling over seven years ago, the ex-Sporting Lisbon youngster replied: "I'm much better a player but also away from the pitch I have matured and developed in the right way.

"I'd like to continue learning from football, there is still an awful lot that can be learned as you grow older. You learn new skills and you also lose certain things as you age."

Perez, who was on stage when Ronaldo joined for a then-world record fee in 2009, hailed the forward as a "living legend" when speaking at the announcement of his new deal.

He said: "Throughout our 114 year history we have built a tradition, an identity which has been passed on from one generation to the next.

"A club with great footballers, players who have defended this club, players like Alfredo Di Stefano and our honorary president Francisco Gento.

"They showed us the way and now I'm going to address their heir, this is a glorious era for the club, fans from all corners, fans who speak different languages and hold different beliefs, support this club, a club which has won 11 European Cups, the most successful club in history."

Addressing Ronaldo personally, Perez added: "You have conquered everything at this club. You are a living legend at this club, the highest scorer in the club's history.

"You are unique, one of a kind, you've scored over 50 goals in each of your last six seasons. Looking at your successes last summer and last year, you deserve to win a fourth Ballon d'Or."

Ronaldo has seven goals so far this season as he has helped guide Madrid to the top of LaLiga and, after returning from international duty where he will lead Portugal out in their World Cup qualifier against Latvia, he will be preparing for the first Madrid derby of the season as Real go to city rivals Atletico on November 19.

Press Association

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