CR7 eyes 10 more years

> Por­tuguese for­ward signs new con­tract with Real af­ter ‘dream’ sea­son

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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 con­tract with Real Madrid yes­ter­day.

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),” Ron­aldo said af­ter sign­ing what he in­sisted will be his penul­ti­mate con­tract.

Ac­cord­ing to Amer­i­can mag­a­zine Forbes, Ron­aldo topped Barcelona ri­val Lionel Messi as the world’s best paid sports­man in 2016 with an in­come of € 80 mil­lion (RM372m).

The three-time World Player of the Year 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 sea­son 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.”

Ron­aldo be­comes just the lat­est Madrid star to ex­tend his con­tract in re­cent weeks. Gareth Bale, Luka Mo­dric and Toni Kroos also agreed lu­cra­tive re­newals as the club pre­pares to serve a one-year trans­fer ban im­posed by FIFA.

Ac­cord­ing to UK me­dia re­ports Bale’s new six-year deal will earn the Welsh­man as much as £600,000 (RM3.13m) a week be­fore tax.

Ron­aldo has plun­dered 371 goals in 360 games in his eight sea­sons since swap­ping Manch­ester United for Madrid for a then world record fee in 2009 mak­ing him the club’s all-time top goalscorer.

As well as pick­ing up two of his three Bal­lon d’Or ti­tles for the world’s best as a Madrid player, Ron­aldo has also won two Cham­pi­ons Leagues, one La Liga ti­tle and two Span­ish Cups.

“There will be a be­fore and af­ter Cris­tiano Ron­aldo. Your tra­jec­tory is mark­ing an era. You are the great icon of the club, a sym­bol of the best club in the world,” said Madrid pres­i­dent Florentino Perez.

How­ever, Ron­aldo avoided guar­an­tee­ing he will re­tire as a Madrid player. “I am very happy to fi­nalise this dream of ex­tend­ing my con­tract. I want to con­tinue mak­ing his­tory for the best club in the world,” added Ron­aldo.

“We will see. What the fu­ture brings you never know. It is clear I want to fin­ish here, but this is my penul­ti­mate con­tract.”

Yet, de­spite his in­cred­i­ble achieve­ments in a Madrid shirt, the length of the con­tract has been ques­tioned with Ron­aldo strug­gling to match his form of old so far this sea­son.

In­deed Ron­aldo even thanked Perez and the club for “hav­ing a mem­ory” in a sport that rarely does. “To score or not score is not so im­por­tant as you think.It is a lit­tle bit of a blip, but that is part of life. I know that in two, three weeks or a month Cris­tiano will be there as al­ways.,” con­tin­ued Ron­aldo. – AFP

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