Cristiano Ronaldo proved this past season that he still has a few more years left as one of football’s finest players.
The Portuguese forward scored 51 goals en route to Real Madrid’s Champions League success, muting those who claim that father time is catching up with the 31-year-old.
There are plenty of rumours claiming Ronaldo will exit the Bernabeu in the near future. Spanish newspaper Sport even believe Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi insinuated in an interview with Le Parisien that the French champions have “negotiated” with the three-time Ballon d’Or winner.
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But in Ronaldo’s perfect world, he will remain in the Spanish capital for at least another nine years.
That’s right. In 2025, Ronaldo still intends to be scoring goals in Madrid’s famous white shirt.
Ronaldo told Spanish publication AS of his intention to retire at some point during his fifth decade.
“I’m going to retire at Real Madrid at 40-something,” he said. “I’m very happy here, I’ve worked hard to be where I am.”
It's not an unimaginable thought
Now, we will never doubt Ronaldo. He has proven time and time again that he is capable of achieving the impossible.
Let’s imagine it for a moment. Ronaldo, aged 43 and occupying a position in Madrid’s centre midfield, taking on a Barcelona side that has just employed Lionel Messi to coach it’s B team. Of the current crop of players, only Raphael Varane and Casemiro remain in the first team and Ronaldo’s son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., is breaking goalscoring records in Madrid’s academy.
Crazy. Yet it doesn’t seem entirely implausible.
Bright future under Zidane
Of course Ronaldo wants to stay for as long as possible. He’s just won his second Champions League trophy at Madrid and there is a genuine belief that, under Zinedine Zidane, Los Blancos can topple Barcelona as Spain’s best team.
Speaking as Real Madrid celebrated their 11th European Cup win in the capital, Ronaldo’s happiness was clear for the thousands of fans to see.
“I do want to say something,” he told fans, per AS, “something I really want to say.
“First of all, I want to say thanks for believing in us; without your support we wouldn't have been able to bring this beautiful cup back here. The pride is huge to able to pull on this white jersey that suits me so f***ing well.
“I’m very happy here, I'm talking now, but I want to sing too: ASI ASI ASI GANA MADRID!! Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!"
Ronaldo could be repeating the exact same speech in a decade’s time.