Ronaldo refusing to discuss Real Madrid future
By James Whelan
Cristiano Ronaldo is refusing to discuss his long-term future at Real Madrid until he has helped the Spanish champions atone for a disappointing start to the season.
The Portuguese forward has been the subject of intense speculation since admitting he was “sad” at the Bernabeu for professional reasons back in September.
Recent reports in Spain also suggested Ronaldo was stalling over an offer to extend his stay in Madrid beyond 2015, with big-spending Paris St Germain rumoured to be interested in acquiring the 27-year-old’s services.
The future of current Real boss Jose Mourinho is similarly unclear, with the club trailing rivals Barcelona by 16 points amid rumours of unrest behind the scenes.
But in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS, Ronaldo stressed his commitment to Mourinho’s project, which continues against Real Sociedad on Sunday.
He said: “I feel great and I’m convinced that this year will be better than last year. I’m feeling good and ready to do my best, as always, and to be better than last year.”
When asked about his contract, Ronaldo stood firm, adding: “That subject has already been spoken about. I won’t talk about my contract renewal any more, it’s not important.
“The most important thing is winning our next matches. We are contesting La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League and it’s important that we all stick together.
“Right now I’m feeling more comfortable with the fans, not just at the Bernabeu, where I’ve always felt good, but outside too.
“They have shown me a lot of love. I want to pay them back in the best way possible, which is playing well and giving my all for the shirt and helping Madrid get to the top.
“We want a perfect start to the year. We are at home, we are the favourites and we need to start well.”
Six crucial league fixtures precede an encounter with a significant emotional pull for Ronaldo, as Manchester United visit the Bernabeu in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Referring to the club he left for £80 million in 2009, Ronald added: “I still have [a] great feeling of friendship and love for them, they’re a team that have done a lot for my career. The fans know me well and I have a lot of friends there that I keep close to my heart.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric admits he has found life at the Bernabeu “challenging” since leaving Tottenham in the summer.
The Croatian playmaker completed a €35m move to the Primera Division champions after spending four years at White Hart Lane, but he has struggled to hold down a first-team place under Mourinho.
The Portuguese has recently criticised the 27-year-old for his inconsistent displays and Modric responded yesterday, saying: “This is Real Madrid. I understand there is great pressure for new signings to succeed here.
“I’m not making excuses, I am not that kind of person, but it is very challenging to adapt to life at a big club like Madrid.
“I have had a few good performances, if not in every game, but I believe that I can prove I have something to offer.”
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