x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Manchester United ‘in the past’ for Ronaldo

Portugal winger says he is happy at Real Madrid and rules out return to Old Trafford where he spent six years.

Cristiano Ronaldo signs a deal that ties him to Real Madrid until 2018. Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo signs a deal that ties him to Real Madrid until 2018. Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo ruled out a return to Manchester United on Sunday by indicating a desire to finish his career at Real Madrid after signing a new deal that ties him to the club until 2018.

Ronaldo was pictured on Real Madrid TV signing his new contract, alongside president Florentino Perez, before fronting a press conference at the Bernabeu.

The 28-year-old Portugal forward, whose previous deal had been due to run out in 2015, expressed delight at agreeing terms after speculation in the summer he could be tempted back to United.

But the possibility of a sensational return to Old Trafford, where he is still appreciated four years after his departure, seems remote after Ronaldo stressed the Spanish capital is where he wants to stay.

“I’m really happy here,” he said. “I’ll be here five more years. I just want to win trophies for this club.

“I appreciate the fans like me a lot to be here. I’m happy, I want to give my best on the pitch.

“I will be honest with you – everyone knows I was in Manchester for six years. Manchester is in the past.

“Now my club is Real Madrid. This is my home, my family is here and I’m really happy here.

“I respect all the clubs who ask about me. But they always know that my decision, that my only goal is to be here and to play at this club until, maybe, the end of my career.

“The future, nobody knows.”

Ronaldo’s future was called into question following Madrid’s protracted pursuit of fellow winger Gareth Bale from Tottenham in the summer.

They finally landed their man at the end of the transfer window, for a world-record €100 million (Dh490m), which meant Ronaldo was no longer the most expensive player in the world.

The pair played in the same Madrid team for the first time in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Villarreal, when both players were on target.

Madrid did not release the financial details of Ronaldo’s new contract but reports have suggested it will make him the highest-paid player in the world, eclipsing the package Bale put pen to paper on earlier this month.

“In life there are things more important than money,” Ronaldo said when asked if his deal was now the most lucrative in world football.

“It is important, I am not going to lie, but the project is to win things.

“I feel integrated into this project. The issue is not whether I’m the best paid in the world, the second or the third.”

Ronaldo, whose image was emblazoned across the Bernabeu’s VIP Box which staged Sunday’s news conference, added: “For me it is a very important day.

“I want to thank my teammates, the coach and, above all, the president. With this agreement I am very happy and privileged to continue in this house.

“It has given me many things. For me today is as if it were the first day.

“I will always give the best for this shirt. Hopefully be here until the end of my career. This club is very big.”

sports@thenational.ae