Madrid: Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo said he could end his career with the Spanish giants after signing a new contract with Madrid on Sunday that will run until 2018.
The Portuguese international has scored 203 goals in 203 games since joining for a then world record €94 million (Dh459 million) from Manchester United back in 2009 and he is hoping to continue that sensational form for the next five years.
“It is a privilege for me to continue with this club,” he told a press conference. “It is just like my first day here. I am going to continue with the same spirit of sacrifice and give everything for the shirt.
“It is a special day for me, I want to thank the president for making this happen and the fans who continue to support me. Maybe, I will stay here until the end of my career. This club is the biggest in the world and I am extremely happy.”
With Ronaldo’s previous deal set to expire in 2015, there had been strong speculation linking the 28-year-old with a return to Old Trafford, but he said United are very much in the past and that a verbal agreement had been in place for a new contract since the end of last season.
“The president [Florentino Perez] gave me his word at the end of the season and I did to him too,” he said. “It is something that I always wanted and the president also showed his feelings that he wanted me to stay.
“I will be honest. I was in Manchester for six years and they gave me many things that I will never forget, but United is now in the past.
“Now I am at home, my family is here and I am happy. I respect all the other clubs but my objectives are here and to play until possibly the end of my career.
“You never know what will happen in the future, but I want to be here for five more years and win things.”
Although Madrid did not give details of the contract extention, the deal is expected to make Ronaldo the world’s highest-paid player, with Spanish newspaper El Pais reporting that he will earn close to €20 million a season.
However, he claimed it was not money but the chance to lead Real to their 10th European Cup that was the decisive factor in his decision.
“Whether I am the best paid player in the world is not the most important thing,” he said. “Money is obviously important, I am not going to lie, but it is not the priority. The priority is to be with the best club in the world. The president always tries to sign the best players and I feel included in that. This club has the capability to win more Champions Leagues, leagues and cups. It was not just a question of money.”
The deal ends a series of drawn-out negotiations that began back at the end of the 2011-12 season. Speculation then mounted that Ronaldo could leave the Spanish capital after he said he was “sad” in September last year and was believed to be upset at the lack of support offered to him by the club in his quest to reclaim the Balon d’Or, which Barcelona rival Lionel Messi has won for the past four years.
Despite the rumours, Perez was always confident that he would finally get his man and claimed it was a great day for the club to tie down the player he sees as the best in the world.
“Today is a magnificent day for Real Madrid,” he said. “The best player in the world knows that this is his home forever. A home that demands the most of him, but also loves him the most.”