Cristiano Ronaldo yesterday signed an extended contract with Real Madrid which keeps him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2021.
The Portugal captain will be 36 years old when the contract finishes, but judging by his comments in the ceremony in the Spanish capital yesterday, his insatiable appetite for games and goals will keep him playing for even longer.
“I’ve renewed my contract for another five years, but let me make it clear that this will not be my last contract with Real Madrid. I want to play until I’m 41,” he said.
Several football greats choose to bring their international career to an early close in order to prolong their club career, but Ronaldo has no intention of going down that route.
“I haven’t the slightest intention of leaving the Portuguese national team. I’ve played for the Seleção since I was 18 years old, I’m the captain, I feel in good shape, and I can’t imagine leaving.”
Ronaldo has already shattered a long list of records. He is the all-time top scorer for Real Madrid (371) and Portugal (66), as well as being the player with the most Portugal appearances (135). Provided he remains injury free, he will no doubt extend all three records to unattainable levels.
The contract itself involves more eye-popping numbers. Ronaldo’s new monthly salary will be the small matter of €1.8 million per month, meaning that from now until 2021 he stands to earn €100m in wages alone.
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The Madeira-born phenomenon admitted that although frustrated with his lack of goals for Real Madrid this season, he is experiencing one of the best periods of his career. “I’m a little disappointed [with the lack of goals] but it’s part of life. I’m going through the best moment of my life. Winning the Champions League for Real Madrid, the European Championship for Portugal and renewing my contract makes it a dream year. What more could I ask for?”
Immediately after signing the contract Ronaldo flew to Lisbon where Portugal’s squad were congregating ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Latvia in the Algarve.