For the vast majority of fans, the idea of Cristiano Ronaldo retiring proves an unthinkable prospect.
After all, the Portuguese star has been tearing defences to shreds since 2002 with hundreds of goals coming in tandem. If it weren’t for Lionel Messi, CR7 would undoubtedly be the undisputed king of contemporary football.
Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end and Ronaldo is now venturing into his thirties. In light of this, the man himself may just have scheduled his retirement date with his latest comments.
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While few days go by without Ronaldo hitting the headlines for goals and skill, the 31-year-old has hit the back pages this week over his new contract.
As part of an extensive contract splurge by Real Madrid, the European champions have secured the services of their star man for a further five years. Incredibly, it will see the three-time Ballon d’Or winner grace the Bernabeu pitch beyond his 36th birthday.
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Moreover, it hasn’t done any harm to his finances either. Despite Gareth Bale breaking records with his new deal last week, Ronaldo has become the highest paid member of the squad with this fresh extension.
It’s fair to say that £500,000-a-week isn’t too shabby.
While the ex-Manchester United man’s age would suggest an impending wane, his astonishing goal record seemingly necessitates Real’s recent move. After all, 371 strikes in just 360 appearances simply can’t be argued with.
So, could this new contract be the last of his career? According to the man himself, it certainly won’t be.
In fact, according to the Mirror, CR7 is of the opinion that his career can kick on for a further decade. Retirement at 36 may prove commonplace in football, but the Portuguese thinks straying into his forties shouldn’t be a problem.
At the official reveal of his new contract, Ronaldo explained: "I'm happy here and want to stay here, but this will not be my last deal in football.
"I want to play until I'm 41. I met [Alfredo] Di Stefano here who told me – 'Continue like this champion, you’re the greatest'.
"I want to keep making history and I'm sure that in the next five years I will keep scoring goals and winning trophies with the best club in the world.
"I want to finish my career at this club but I want this to be my penultimate contract."
Therefore, while this latest contract won’t be his last, the man himself believes it will be his penultimate deal. Whether or not his form at 36 will warrant that final agreement being at Real is unknown though.
That being said, you only need to look at players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio di Natale to see that age can in fact galvanise a player.
Moreover, given Ronaldo’s incredible career and achievements, hammering home the goals at 41 would simply prove his latest miracle. Form is temporary, but is class permanent after all.
Do you think Ronaldo will be good enough for Real Madrid when he is 41? Have YOUR say in the comment box below