Monday, January 14, 2013
Cristiano Ronaldo to see out Real contract
ESPN.com news services
Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo reiterated that he has no immediate plans to leave Real Madrid, but didn't rule out changing clubs beginning in 2015.
"I want to see out my contract at Real Madrid: I'm very clear about that. After that, well, I don't know what'll happen in the future," Ronaldo said in an interview with FIFA.com.
Ronaldo was serving a suspension and did not play on Saturday against Osasuna. Real Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw, leaving the team 18 points behind leaders Barcelona at the halfway point of the La Liga season.
Retaining the league title is unlikely, Ronaldo admitted.
"We have not started the championship very well, for sure," Ronaldo said. "We know that La Liga is an uphill struggle for us now, but nothing is impossible in football. We are going to work hard, win games and see what happens. And, of course, there is the Champions League and the Copa del Rey too. There is plenty for us to win this season."
Ronaldo also acknowledged that he feels even more pressure to play well at Real Madrid than he did when he was under contract for Manchester United.
"I've been here for 3½ years now and I think that's the case because everyone involved is totally focused on winning the club's 10th European Cup. That creates a certain amount of anxiety, which can be felt at all times," Ronaldo said, adding that he thinks the pressure sometimes gets to the team. "But we have to try and rise above it and not let what people say get to us, particularly the media, as Real Madrid get spoken about every day. At the end of the day it comes down to an individual decision, whether you want to read the papers or not. I don't think what the papers say matters too much, so there's no need to overdramatize the issue."
Ronaldo defended coach Jose Mourinho's style.
"People do protest and you have to respect that, though I think they should be a bit patient with him. To me it's very clear that Mourinho always wants what's best for the club and will fight to the death to defend it," he said. "In my view he's the best coach in the world, he's got loads of experience and has won everything there is to win."
Real Madrid hosts Valencia in Tuesday's Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg, where Ronaldo will likely see action, along with Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema and Ricardo Carvalho.
Regarding February's Champions League last-16 match against his former club Manchester United, Ronaldo said he saw the ties as a difficult step towards a 10th European Cup for Madrid.
"Every Madridista wants that 10th European Cup -- we are more than aware of that," he said. "Last season we fell just short, which was very frustrating. The fact we face Manchester United next makes it more difficult. It is not going to be easy and I reckon the odds are about 50-50, but I am still very confident."
Despite last week's rumors he is being courted by Paris Saint Germain, Ronaldo gave no indication of the "sadness" he reported last September that sparked the speculation about his future.
"I'm doing something I like, something that I enjoy," he said. "I know how fortunate I am and I feel very fulfilled."