MADRID: Ending weeks of speculation about his future, Cristiano Ronaldo has told a Spanish newspaper he is staying put at Real Madrid to plunder more silverware.
“To win important trophies with my club and the personal honours last season was brilliant, to do it again would be nice,” Ronaldo told the sports daily Marca on Tuesday in an interview from Shanghai.
Ronaldo’s declaration of intent to remain at the Bernabeu for the upcoming season comes despite rumours of his departure which surfaced last month in Portuguese newspaper O Globo.
Those reports were founded on his apparent feeling of abandonment by his club over his run-in with the Spanish tax authorities.
Ronaldo, 32, has been summoned to appear before a judge near Madrid on July 31 to answer four counts of evading 14.7 million euros ($16.8 million) in taxes.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has protested his innocence with O Globo saying he had threatened to leave Real over the investigation.
Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million (83m euro) in 2016-2017, according to Forbes magazine.
On Saturday Real manager Zinedine Zidane assured Real supporters that the superstar striker “was on holiday and would be back with us on (August) 5”.
Ronaldo has been given leave to miss the club’s pre-season US tour and Zidane, speaking in Los Angeles, insisted that he would be back at the club “on the fifth (of August) and I think he’ll stay for the next two or three years he’s got left with us.”
In Tuesday’s Marca interview Ronaldo also looked ahead to the 2018 World Cup with European champions Portugal.
“We still have to qualify but I’m hoping that Portugal can win an incredible title.”