Cristiano Ronaldo has renewed his contract at Real Madrid to 2021, in a formal ceremony he no doubt deserves for his time at the club. This extension, the last of a series carried out by the club, enjoyed a level of show the others lacked. Not even Bale got as much. Bale is an extraordinary player who has put Wales back at a level they’ve not enjoyed since the days of John Charles, in the late 50s. His arrival was somewhat awkward, as he took the place of a player as useful as he was good, Di María. But the level of confidence shown in Bale has allowed him to turn into a truly great player.
Ronaldo grateful to Real Madrid
But not even the Welshman enjoyed such a fanfare over his renewal. Cristiano showed his gratitude. He needs adulation, that’s well known, but he knows how to react to it. He was grateful, both in his gestures and his words, and audacious in his plans for the future, looking beyond this new contract, past 2021, when he’ll be 36. Time will tell if Cristiano is still good enough then to be part of the super-elite that Madrid requires. Right now he’s at a crossroads, between the player he was, backed up by his incredible physique, and the player he needs to become, changing his movements, his position and using his other abilities. Messi’s done it. Ronaldo needs to try.
Ronaldo has to justify Madrid's investment
Ronaldo’s renewal finishes a process that has left some feeling uneasy. I remember when Santiago Bernabéu renewed players on a yearly basis past 30 years of age. But 32 is the new 30. In that light, none of the renewals, including Cristiano’s, is unreasonable, though Cristiano’s is risky. He brings the endorsement of seven seasons scoring 50 goals, but who can guarantee he’ll keep doing that to 2021? This contract extension gives a short term tranquility that Florentino is paying a high price for; now it falls to Cristiano to justify the club’s investment. And that will only happen if he has the sense to change his game.