Saturday 20 January 2018

Ronaldo signs new €410k-per-week deal - and vows to play on for 10 years

All style: Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Getty
All style: Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Getty

Jamie Holland

Cristiano Ronaldo signalled his intention to keep playing for 10 more years after rounding off a "dream year" by signing a bumper new five-year €410,000-week contract with Real Madrid.

The deal, expected to protect Ronaldo's status as the world's highest-paid footballer, will keep the Portuguese tied to the European champions until he is 36.

"What I most want is to continue enjoying the years I have left to play. I still have 10 years (ahead)," said Ronaldo after signing what he insisted will be his penultimate contract.

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, has enjoyed his most successful year at a collective level, scoring the winning penalty as Madrid won the Champions League for an 11th time in May before captaining Portugal to their first major tournament win at Euro 2016.

"After the year I've had - to win the Champions League, the Euros and then renew my contract with Real Madrid - it is something I never imagined. It is a dream year," said Ronaldo, who has been short-listed for the World Player of the Year award again.

"I want to finish here. 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."

Ronaldo, who has scored more than 370 goals for Real Madrid on his way to helping them win the Champions League twice, added: "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 things.

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

"No-one knows what the future holds, of course, but 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."

Ronaldo added: "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 at Real 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 also on stage when Ronaldo joined Real for a then-world record fee of €94m in 2009, 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 the European Cup 11 times - the most successful club in history."

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

Irish Independent

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