At a special ceremony at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu yesterday overseen by Madrid president Florentino Perez and attended by VIP guests including his agent Jorge Mendes and family members, Ronaldo, 31, said he was delighted with a 2016 which is likely to end with him also winning a fourth career Ballon D’Or trophy.
“This has been the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said. “The Champions League with Madrid, the European Championships with Portugal, and now this new contract. Such team trophies for me are key to winning individual awards.
“My aim for these five years is to keep making history, giving my best for this jersey to win more trophies and score more goals.”
Ronaldo has indeed scored lots of goals since joining from Manchester United in summer 2009.
Madrid’s record all-time scorer now has 372 in just 360 matches, while he has won every trophy available — including two Champions Leagues, two Copas del Rey and one La Liga trophy.
With everyone in Madrid sure that Ronaldo remains the club’s highest earner, the club are now on the hook for a gross salary [before tax] of over €200m over the course of this contract.
Few doubt his contribution to the Bernabeu outfit, while Perez has also leveraged the ‘CR7’ brand into record-breaking club revenues.
However some might question the value of giving such a long contract to a player with a history of injury issues whose form has dipped alarmingly.
The new deal’s announcement looks to have been carefully orchestrated, with Ronaldo’s the biggest and best at the end of a series of top players including Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos committing their futures to the club.
The timing turned out quite awkward however. Celebrations this weekend were slightly tempered by Ronaldo’s latest poor showing in Sunday’s 3-0 win at home to Leganes, where he managed zero shots on target, and was booked for reportedly telling the referee to “fuck off”.
Meanwhile, fellow galactico Bale was Madrid’s matchwinner and long time nemesis Lionel Messi gave a superb performance in Barcelona’s 2-1 victory at Sevilla. There was also a quite valedictory feel to yesterday’s event at the Bernabeu — where Ronaldo has not now scored for two months.
Perez’s opening address situated the current superstar within a series of past legends.
“Over our 114 years of history at this club we have built a legacy with values recognised all over the world and legendary heroes, giants like Di Stefano and Paco Gento,” Perez said. “Santiago Bernabeu marked our path, and he would be proud today to count on you as the great successor of these great myths. Your career at Madrid marks one of the best eras in the history of the world’s best club. You united your story to our club, and the legends of Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid will be forever linked together.”
A video at the event showing his greatest goals in a Madrid jersey, many of them mazy dribbles past opponents or 30-yard howitzers, acted as a painful reminder of how few of those he scores these days.
Ronaldo himself was however not so keen to write any eulogies for his career — saying he had one more big contract left and saw himself playing until 40. His ambition and self-confidence remain impressive, but time eventually catches up with us all.