Cristiano Ronaldo says, if possible, he would like to finish his playing career with Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick early in the second half would be all Real Madrid would need to claim the Club World Cup title.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane both said they would like to resolve the showdown over the Portuguese star’s contract after he scored the winning goal in the Club World Cup final on Saturday.
Madrid dominated from start to finish, with the only goal coming just after half-time when Ronaldo’s free kick powered straight through the Gremio wall to the net.
Speaking to reporters afterward at the stadium in Abu Dhabi, Ronaldo commented on the reported deadlocked talks over a payrise which have again raised doubts over his long-term future with Madrid.
“If it was possible I would like that, but it does not depend on me,” he said. “All I can control is what I do on the pitch. I am not in charge at the club, I do my work, and I believe I do it well.”
Zidane told his postmatch news conference that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner deserves an extension from the Bernabeu hierarchy after yet again coming good when needed most.
“[Cristiano] never lets us down,” Zidane said. “He is always there in the key moments. Of course I would like him to sign a new contract already. Nobody does what he does.”
Requests from Ronaldo’s camp to negotiate a new deal have so far been rebuffed by Madrid president Florentino Perez, although the club chief insisted he wants him to stay for his whole career.
“Cristiano is the best player, with no debate, of the current era,” he told COPE. “With all the qualities he brings together he is a unique and very special player. He wants to stay at Madrid, and I also want him to end [his career] here. He is a spectacular player and has a contract for this year and three more.”
Perez also told AS from Abu Dhabi that anybody who questioned the club’s record goalscorer was basically questioning the sport itself.
“Cristiano always scores,” Perez said. “To question him is to question Madrid and almost to question football. He plays great games, and transmits ambition and this motivation he has.”
Ronaldo, asked by TV Espana if he had been bothered by criticism of his finishing during a lean spell earlier during the La Liga campaign, said nobody could argue with his statistics as he became the top scorer in Club World Cup history in the semifinal.
“What can I say, the numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “I do not need to say anything, I respond out on the pitch. I am very happy, the team have been great and we have won another trophy.”
The Copa Libertadores champions were outclassed throughout, with Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and second-half substitute Gareth Bale coming close to making it 2-0, and Blancos keeper Keylor Navas not having a shot to save all game.
Real Madrid have now won five trophies in the calendar year.
Ronaldo said that adding the Club World Cup to the Champions League, La Liga, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Supercopa was another objective achieved.
“It was impressive,” Ronaldo said. “It was a trophy we wanted to win. We knew we were playing a good team. Madrid had never won five trophies in one year, Zidane told us this, so we put in the effort, played a good game, and deserved to win.”
After being caught with a studs-up challenge by Gremio captain Geromel inside the first two minutes, the 32-year-old said he had felt pain in his calf but his participation in Saturday’s Clasico was not in doubt.
“I felt an issue in my calf in the second half, but I kept playing,” he said. “For sure on Saturday I will be fine.”
Zidane said the victory would be a boost as they head towards the must win-game against La Liga-leading Barcelona next week.
“It is the best way to arrive at the game,” Zidane said. “Now we must enjoy the moment, return to Madrid and enjoy this. We are happy as it is not easy to do what these players are doing. This is the fifth trophy this year.”
Madrid came close to embarrassment during Wednesday’s comeback 2-1 semifinal victory against hosts Al Jazira, but Zidane said their performance in the final had been focused and complete.
“We played a great game, very complete, very serious,” Zidane said. “We were focused from the start. The victory is deserved.”
With Madrid having secured five trophies in 2017, Perez said it had been the best 12 months of his presidency, which has included two spells from 2000 to 2006 and then 2009 to present.
“It is the best year since I am at Madrid,” the president said. “Everyone recognises what we deserve. We have played at our best in the finals. We are used to winning finals.”
The construction magnate appeared to rule out the club going into the transfer market to strengthen in January, despite recent speculation linking the club with Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi.
“Everything can be improved, although when things are going well it is best not to touch it,” Perez said. “We have very good players and many who will be very important in the future. Now we must enjoy what we have.”