Ending weeks of speculation as to whether he will cross the English Channel to rejoin Manchester United, Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo announced on Sunday that he has signed a new contract with Real Madrid that will keep him in the Primera Liga for at least the next five years.
Cristiano Ronaldo during the press conference to announce the signing of his new contract with Real Madrid
As the footballer walked into the pressroom, the Tina Turner song Simply The Best blared from loudspeakers while a video of his highlights with Real Madrid played on a big screen.
The news coming out of Santiago Bernabeu was so huge, it overshadowed the debut of Welshman Gareth Bale, for whom Real Madrid paid Tottenham Hotspur a €100-million transfer fee. The 24-year-old Bale will stay at Real Madrid for six years and is expected to at least match Ronaldo's record of 203 or Raul's all-time goals scored record of 228 in 550 appearances.
Cristiano Ronaldo was reportedly unhappy with the signing as he felt he was being pushed out of the rotation. At one point, things came to a head when Ronaldo reportedly clipped Bale's ankle in practice on Saturday, a few days after the two greeted each other and shook hands at a car park outside the team's practice facility. Both players scored goals in Real Madrid's 2-2 draw at Villareal, in what could be an early sign of the two prolific goal scorers' potential.
Sunday's press conference was a far cry from the scene in September 2012, when Cristiano said he was "sad," setting off a storm of indignation and speculation, ranging from possible disappointment at not being named 2012 UEFA Player of the Year to not feeling valued enough at Madrid.
Whatever disappointment it was, though, it has long been forgotten.
"Maybe I will stay here until the end of my career. This club is the biggest in the world and I am extremely happy... 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," Ronaldo told the press.
While details of the deal were not made immediately made public, Ronaldo is said to be receiving close to €20 million a year after taxes, plus a fifty-percent share in image rights.
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