After much speculation, Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to stay with Real Madrid on a long-term basis.
The club first reported the news of the contract extension Sunday morning:
Today, Sunday 15 September at 1.45 p.m., a press conference will be held in the VIP box at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium to announce the renewal of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract. The President of the club, Florentino Pérez, and the player himself will be present.
Real Madrid then tweeted a photo of Ronaldo signing his contract extension at the press conference:
The 28-year-old will eclipse Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the highest earner in Spanish football, with a new salary of €17 million a year for the next five seasons. Messi is reported to earn a fixed €13 million plus an extra €3 million in incentives.
Ronaldo has been one of the most successful players in the sport. He won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2008 and is perennially a finalist for the Ballon d'Or.
Last season, the forward totaled 57 goals for Real Madrid, including 34 in league play to rank second behind Lionel Messi. He was also named to the FIFA World XI team for 2012.
Heading into this contract extension, there was some friction between Ronaldo and his current club, with Ronaldo once stating that he was "sad" about his current situation. "It’s a professional thing. Real Madrid know why I’m not happy," the forward said last year, via Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph.
Is this the right decision for Cristiano Ronaldo?
To make matters worse, his club did not see as much success as he did on an individual basis. Real finished behind Barcelona in La Liga, and it fell to Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals of the Champions League. A loss in the finals of the Copa del Rey clinched a trophy-less season.
These factors led some to speculate that the Portuguese star would be on his way out at the conclusion of last season. There were even rumours that he could possibly return to Manchester United after having a great deal of success there earlier in his career.
Paris Saint-Germain was also willing to make a large bid for the superstar, according to James Dickenson of the Express.
However, these were ruled out when Real Madrid president Florentino Perez emphatically stated that he would not sell his best player and that the two sides were ready to work things out (via ESPN):
He told me last summer that he was sad and I told him that we would do everything possible for him to be happy. He had a bad moment but it is over now. Since then, his behaviour has been spectacular - Cristiano has been an example and has not had problems with anyone.
He is the best in the world; we want to build the future Madrid around him. I would like him to be the best-paid player in the world.
Finally, an agreement has been reached to keep Ronaldo around for many years to come. He has shown no signs of slowing down and remains in the prime of his career. This was a move Real Madrid certainly could not pass up after aligning Ronaldo with megastar Gareth Bale earlier this month.
Real Madrid will continue to be among the best clubs in the world as it contends for titles in La Liga and across Europe, while Ronaldo will continue to contend for the honor of being named the best player in the world.