Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out on his future, addressing rumours of a potential exit from Real Madrid at the end of the season.
However, the Portugal international has insisted that he wishes to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu for the time being despite the club’s poor domestic form and reports of an alleged contract dispute.
Real currently trail Barcelona by 19 points in La Liga and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by minnows Leganes in midweek.
Manager Zinedine Zidane has come under increasing pressure, with his future now hanging in the balance ahead of a two-legged Champions League last 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain in the coming weeks.
Although Los Blancos are experiencing a period of difficulty, Ronaldo has vowed to stay at the club, backtracking on his summer criticism of Spain and its media by declaring his love for the city of Madrid.
“Of course, I want to stay here. I love this club. I like living here. I’ve lived in this city since 2009 and I love the weather and the people,” Ronaldo told Dongqiudi (via Sky Sports).
“Spain is a great country, I love it.”
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is currently contracted to the Spanish giants until 2021, and although he is yet to agree to an extension to that particular deal it is clear his heart lies with the club.
The former Manchester United man has scored an astonishing 424 goals in 419 appearances for the club over the last nine years, establishing a reputation as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Ronaldo also stated his desire to continue playing until the age of 41. Now 32, he admits, however, his longevity may come under further questioning as time goes on.
“This feeling is incredible. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of.
“Now, my plan to retire at 41 will probably be a bit more difficult to achieve, and now we live in the moment.”
While Real Madrid fans can rest easily knowing they will maintain Ronaldo’s services for now, the fact that he sees himself playing into his early forties means that Manchester United fans may not have to entirely rule out the possibility of him lining out in a red shirt once more.
However, a potential Old Trafford reunion certainly won’t be happening anytime soon, according to the player himself.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena