Ronaldo signs new deal to keep him at Real Madrid until 2018
Gareth Bales scores on debut but Portuguese star steals thunder after committing future to club
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and club president Florentino Perez during the announcement that the Portuguese winger has extended his contract with the Spanish club. (Photograph: Paul White/AP)
Gareth Bale’s big night gave way to Cristiano Ronaldo’s big day as Real Madrid followed up the Welshman’s debut with the announcement of the signing that the club’s supporters wanted more than any other. Ronaldo has extended his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2018, when he will be 33.
Madrid have not confirmed Ronaldo’s salary or whether he was handed a re-signing on fee but some sources suggest he will be on as much as €18 million a year after tax, plus 50 per cent of his image rights, making him the world’s best-paid player. Ronaldo had entered into the final two years of his deal, strengthening his hand and increasing concerns that he would choose to move on, possibly even for free.
It is just over a year since Ronaldo admitted he was “sad”. Now, though, he was beaming. At one point the Portuguese appeared to confirm that Manchester United were among the clubs that had shown an interest in him – and he did not entirely rule out a move at the end of his career, refusing to state categorically that he will retire at Madrid. But he insisted he “never” had any intention of heading elsewhere and described United as his “past”; “my present,” he said, “is Real Madrid.”
He has 204 goals in 203 games for Real Madrid (although one of those is disputed); in all probability he will finish his career as the club’s all-time leading scorer. Raúl stands on 323.
Madrid departed Villarreal at almost 1am on Sunday, having drawn 2-2. Ronaldo, like Gareth Bale, had scored. Within 10 hours, Madrid announced that Ronaldo had agreed a new deal and just before one o’clock, he appeared at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“I am grateful that the president reached an agreement in the end,” Ronaldo said with a grin. “This is something I always wanted. I don’t know if I will retire at 34 but I want to satisfy the fans. That never happened [that I thought of leaving]. I am very happy.
“It might have seemed like a long time to you [for a deal to be finally reached] but it did not seem so long to me and anyway,” he added, almost giggling, “it had a happy finish . . . if I can say that.”