Real Madrid have reacted to Cristiano Ronaldo's excellent 2018 thus far and will reportedly meet the player's demands for a new salary, pulling him level in earnings with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has scored 17 goals in 12 outings for Real since the beginning of 2018, and Mundo Deportivo (h/t Mirror's Martin Domin) reported his form has convinced president Florentino Perez to match his terms.
The 33-year-old is said to earn £28 million per year at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but it's reported Real are willing to pay him as much as Messi and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar on £35 million per year.
A 25-per cent pay increase at what's usually seen as the twilight of one's career is a remarkable achievement, but it was only recently that Real boss Zinedine Zidane emphasised how Ronaldo is not the average player, via Goal:
Ronaldo started the season in shakier form than usual, particularly in La Liga, where he scored only four of his 18 league goals this season before January.
The Portugal captain has since exploded back to the standards Real fans are used to seeing and netted 14 times in his last eight La Liga outings, and Ben McAleer of WhoScored.com highlighted his spike in scoring:
It's unclear as to whether Real intend to extend Ronaldo's stay at the Bernabeu, with his current contract due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but it seems he can expect a bump in salary.
Ronaldo's struggle to hit usual standards at the start of this season coincided with an all-round slump for the back-to-back European champions, who still sit third in La Liga, 15 points from leaders and likely winners Barcelona.
Spanish newspaper ABC (h/t Mirror's Domin) reported Zidane remained true to his headline star amid his struggle for form and told him: "Focus on your game, on football, and forget about everything else."
Needless to say the advice appears to have worked, and ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan pointed to evidence it's Ronaldo's shot selection (or accuracy) that's been the backbone of his bounce back:
The best players demand the most money, and despite his advancing years, Ronaldo looks likely to again tie level with the world's highest-paid players after fighting his way back to top form.