Perez se­cur­ing Madrid’s fu­ture with in-house play­ers

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Piece by piece, Florentino Perez is mak­ing sure Real Madrid re­mains a top con­tender.

And he is do­ing it with­out re­sort­ing to more "galac­ti­cos," in­stead stick­ing to the cur­rent group who helped the team thrive in re­cent years by ex­tend­ing the con­tract of Madrid's top play­ers past 2020.

At the core of this group is Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, who on Mon­day be­came the lat­est player to have his link with the club ex­tended. The three-time world player of the year signed a new deal that ties him to Madrid un­til June 2021, when he will be 36 years old.

"You don't get tired of win­ning and that is why Real Madrid wants you to con­tinue here for­ever," the club pres­i­dent said to Ron­aldo. "You're al­ready a Real Madrid leg­end."

Be­fore Ron­aldo, Perez had re­newed the con­tract of Gareth Bale, se­cur­ing the Wales for­ward un­til 2022.

Bale was the player in which Perez spent big on a trans­fer, pay­ing Tot­ten­ham 101 mil­lion eu­ros in 2013, a record amount that stood un­til Manch­ester United shelled out 105 mil­lion eu­ros for Paul Pogba in Au­gust.

The pres­i­dent didn't choose to go on an­other spend­ing spree this year even though he knew of a loom­ing one-year sign­ing ban handed down by FIFA af­ter the club was found guilty of break­ing rules pro­tect­ing underage play­ers.

In­stead, he pre­ferred to keep the group of play­ers that in May led the team to its sec­ond Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle in three sea­sons.

Croa­tia mid­fielder Luka Mo­dric had his con­tracted ex­tended last month un­til 2020, and fel­low de­fen­sive mid­fielder Toni Kroos got a new deal un­til 2022. Young for­ward Lucas Vazquez signed a new con­tract keep­ing him in Madrid un­til 2021.

Ron­aldo, Bale, Kroos and Mo­dric have been nom­i­nated for FIFA's best player of the year award.

There are doubts about whether Perez will try to stick with France for­ward Karim Ben­zema af­ter his cur­rent con­tract ends in 2019, but the club has al­ready se­cured young­ster Al­varo Mo­rata, who re­turned to Madrid af­ter play­ing well with Ju­ven­tus in Italy. Mo­rata is stay­ing un­til 2021.

Perez now will have to turn his fo­cus to the de­fense, as Pepe's cur­rent con­tract ends next sea­son. In a few years, the pres­i­dent will likely have to ne­go­ti­ate with cap­tain Ser­gio Ramos, left back Marcelo and right back Dani Car­va­jal, whose con­tracts end in 2020.

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