Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has hinted he would like to begin discussions over a contract extension, revealing he would like to stay in the Spanish capital beyond his current deal.
The Portuguese star was collecting his Golden Boot award in Spain, and he'll share the accolade with new Barcelona forward Luis Suarez. Both scored 31 league goals last campaign.
At the presentation, Marca quoted a "smiley" Ronaldo as saying this about his future:
We'll have to speak to Florentino [Perez] about extending my contract. I'm very happy, enjoying life and in great form. I try to give my best out on the pitch and achieve everything possible for the club because the thing I like the most is winning.
I hope to stay at Real Madrid until the end of my contract when I'm 33 and we'll see if the president wants to extend it for a few more years.
As reported by ESPN FC, Ronaldo signed a five-year deal in September 2013. However, that was not enough to prevent continued reports (such as this from The Observer's Daniel Taylor) linking the Portuguese with a return to former side Manchester United.
Links with an Old Trafford return have been continuous for some time, and, indeed, Ronaldo has done little to play down such stories. ESPN FC's Kevin Palmer highlights how the player recently spoke of his love for the Red Devils.
In October, though, The Guardian noted agent Jorge Mendes as denying such reports:
Cristiano is very happy at Real Madrid and has always been very happy. He’s going to break all the records with Real Madrid and he’s going to retire here. He has a lot of love for United because his heart was there for six years, but now he’s only thinking about Real Madrid and he’s going to stay here forever. He’s incredibly happy.
United fans, some of whom even formed a "United Reel" organisation to bring Ronaldo "home," could be forgiven for feeling they are being used as a pawn by Mendes when it comes to negotiating new deals in Spain.
Ronaldo will doubtless feel he deserves regular pay increases given his incredible goal-scoring feats for Madrid, which have once more put him among the favourites for this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or, a title he clinched for the second time 12 months ago.
However, it would be somewhat unprecedented to sign a new contract just 12 months into a five-year arrangement regardless of the Manchester United speculation.
Ronaldo is an incredible talent, but it is difficult to assess how he will be performing in four years' time. As Guillem Balague attests in this B/R video from earlier this season, injuries have bothered him of late, and he has been forced to adapt his game as a consequence.
The Portuguese, though, has been unstoppable thus far this season, scoring a ridiculous 17 goals in nine league games and adding a further three in the Champions League, according to WhoScored. Such scoring figures are virtually unprecedented.
He may now be pushing 30, and he has suffered regular injury setbacks over the past two seasons, but Ronaldo is now more efficient than he has ever been. He will know that, and if his club believes as much, the conditions are in place for a new deal that would once more escalate his pay to stratospheric levels.