Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to retire at Real Madrid after agreeing a bumper new five-year contract to be signed today that ties him to the Spanish giants until 2021. “The official event for the renewal of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract will take place tomorrow, Monday 7 November at 1:30pm in the presidential box at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium,” Madrid said in a statement yesterday. “The Portuguese forward will extend his contract until 30 June 2021 at the event attended by club president Florentino Perez and the player himself.” Ronaldo, 31, follows in the footsteps of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as the latest Real star to agree a contract extension in recent weeks as the club prepares to serve a one-year transfer ban imposed by FIFA. According to UK media reports Bale’s lucrative new six-year deal will earn the Welshman as much as USD 750,000 a week before tax.
However, Ronaldo, whose previous deal expired in 2018 is expected to remain the highest earner at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo is already the world’s highest paid sportsman according to American magazine Forbes, raking in $88 million between his salary and endorsements in 2016. Ronaldo has shot himself into the Real record books by plundering 371 goals in 360 games in his eight seasons since swapping Manchester United for Madrid for a then world record fee in 2009. And Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane called on Ronaldo to end his playing days in Spain like he did when retiring from club football in 2006. “What he has to do is finish his career here,” said Zidane after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Leganes extended Madrid’s lead at the top of La Liga.
“Cristiano is unique for what he has done and what he is doing. “It is his dream to end his career here. I am happy that he can renew and finish with this white shirt like I did a long time ago.” As well the individual accolades of winning the Ballon d’Or in 2013 and 2014 for the world’s best player since joining Madrid, Ronaldo has won eight trophies with Los Blancos. Most notably he scored in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid as Real ended a 12-year wait to win their 10th European Cup. Ronaldo was Atletico’s scourge again as he netted the winning penalty in a shootout victory to once again win the Champions League in May.
His only La Liga title came under Jose Mourinho in the 2011/12 season. However, arguably Ronaldo’s crowning glory came in leading Portugal to their first ever international tournament win at Euro 2016. After suffering knee ligament damage in the Euro 2016 final, Ronaldo has endured a slow start to this season. His scoreless performance against Leganes extended his worst ever goal drought at the Bernabeu to five matches. However, Madrid’s confidence in handing out a huge deal that will secure Ronaldo’s position as the world’s highest paid sportsman has not been shaken. “There is nothing wrong, he is not worried,” insisted Zidane. “He looks good, he is motivated, he likes to scores goals and even more so in this stadium, but he is calm.” AFP
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