Cristiano Ronaldo becoming more popular in Spain

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He may have tormented their clubs for four seasons, but La Liga fans are keen for Real Madrid to hold on to Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

A new survey claims that 65 per cent of fans want Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to extend his contract - and 95 per cent of Real Madrid supporters want an extension.

Manchester United's hopes of re-signing the 2008 World Player of the Year partly rested on his reported unhappiness in Spain. 

But it seems Ronaldo has won the fans over - even 50 per cent who say they hate Real Madrid admit they want the Portuguese number seven to stay in La Liga - and 70 per cent of Barcelona fans want a renewal.

The report claims his upturn in popularity is down to less sulking, a change in attitude and a commitment to hard work for the team.

Only supporters of three teams - Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid - want to see him leave the Bernabeu. 

That might have something to do with his sensational goal record against them though - five in seven against Valencia and seven in eight against Athletic.

In truth, his goalscoring record against most teams is pretty spectacular - 201 goals in 199 Real Madrid games speaks for itself.

But reports over the past 10 months have claimed United were increasingly confident of landing the Portugal international.

Speculation regarding his "unhappiness" first prompted the reports, with a perceived lack of support regarding his Ballon d'Or candidacy supposedly a contributing factor.

Various other reasons have been proffered - from disputes over image rights to a lack of movement on contract talks.

But at the end of the day, fans love to watch the best players in the world - and Ronaldo is in the top two. While a move to United would probably see their teams concede less goals, La Liga fans recognise they're lucky to watch the two best players on a weekly basis.

And his presence increases the league's popularity around the world - a win for all Spanish teams.

He's loved in Manchester, but maybe the Spanish fans are beginning to warm to him too. And that could be bad news for United.

Premier League
Manchester United
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
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