Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after his side won the Champions League in Kiev on Saturday (26/05). (Reuters Photo/Phil Noble)
Ronaldo Hints of Leaving Real Madrid After Final Triumph
BY :RICHARD MARTIN
MAY 27, 2018
Kiev. Cristiano Ronaldo may have played his last game for Real Madrid after winning a fourth Champions League crown with the Spanish side in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Saturday (26/05), saying he would soon make an announcement on his future.
"Right now, we need to enjoy ourselves but in the next few days I'll give an answer to the fans who have always been by my side. It was beautiful to be at Real Madrid," the Portugal forward told television network beIN Sports after the game.
"The future of any Madrid player is not important, we have just made history."
Karim Benzema scored Real's opener while substitute Gareth Bale struck twice, including a sensational overhead kick, to seal a 13th European Cup win overall and their fourth title in five years after Sadio Mane had equalized for Liverpool.
Ronaldo, who is Real's all-time top scorer, was asked to clarify his comments but continued to give ambiguous answers.
"I don't have any doubts, it's not important, I have to rest now, go and meet up with the Portugal team and in the next few weeks [I'll make an announcement]," he added before joining up with his country's World Cup squad for the tournament in Russia.
The 33-year-old Ronaldo, who became the first player to win five Champions League titles since the competition changed format in 1992, including one with Manchester United, reacted angrily when asked if he was disappointed not to have scored.
"Who's disappointed? Perhaps they need to change the name of the Champions League to the CR7 Champions League. Who has the most titles and who has the most goals?" said the Portuguese, who has scored a record 120 goals in the competition.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane could not give an answer when asked about the timing of Ronaldo's comments and said he had not spoken to the player before the game about his future.
"Cristiano has to stay, no matter what. We'll see what happens next, but for me, he should stay," the Frenchman said.
Real captain Sergio Ramos also urged Ronaldo to remain at the club but said his teammate had to make clear what he meant.
"I'm sure Cris will speak at the end of the season. If there's something behind this, he should come and clarify what it is today," Ramos said.
"Cristiano is a key part of this team, he likes to feel loved and we all want him to stay, he won't find a better place than here, he's our superstar.
"Everyone is free to take a personal decision, but I hope he stays here for many years," he added.
Ronaldo caused a stir a few days after Real beat Juventus 4-1 in the final last year when Portuguese newspaper A Bola reported that the forward wanted to leave Madrid as he was not happy with how he had been treated by the Spanish club.
Ronaldo's desire for a new contract was believed to be behind last year's stories and he has still not signed a new deal at Real, which he joined from United in a then world record transfer worth £85.5 million ($113.8 million).
Gareth Bale proved his worth to Real Madrid by delivering the Champions League trophy with a sensational two goals after coming off the bench in the 3-1 win over Liverpool in Saturday's final but then declared he would have to consider his future at the club.
Real's record signing had been left out of the starting lineup for the final for the second year in a row as coach Zinedine Zidane played Isco instead, fielding the same side that beat Juventus 4-1 in last year's final in Bale's home city of Cardiff.
The former Tottenham Hotspur forward grabbed his opportunity in emphatic fashion after replacing Spain midfielder Isco just after the hour mark, conjuring up an inspired overhead kick to put Madrid back in front in the 64th minute, after Sadio Mane had canceled out Karim Benzema's opportune opening goal.
Bale then sealed Real's record-extending 13th European Cup with a long-range strike, which flew through the hands of Liverpool's hapless goalkeeper Loris Karius, ensuring he pocketed a remarkable fourth Champions League winners' medal since moving to the Spanish capital in 2013.
"It has to be the best goal in a Champions League final, there is no bigger stage," Bale said of his jaw-dropping strike, which put Madrid on their way to a third consecutive Champions League triumph.
"I am just happy to get the win. It is a team game, but when you are a substitute, it is a game of more than 11 players. I made an impact."
However, Bale said he was not happy to have been left out of many of Real's biggest games this season and admitted he would have to think long and hard about his future at the club where he has won so much.
"I need to be playing week in, week out and that has not happened this season. I had an injury five, six weeks in but [have been] fit ever since. I have to sit down with my agent in the summer and discuss it."
Bale also scored in Real's 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final, striking the goal that put Madrid ahead in extra time and on its way to finally landing "La Decima," the 10th European crown it had craved for 12 years.
He also played a decisive role in winning the 2016 crown against Atletico and struck a memorable winner in the 2014 King's Cup final against arch rival Barcelona, although his career at Real has been somewhat overshadowed by persistent muscle injuries and a long spell out following ankle surgery.
"Obviously, I was very disappointed not to start the game; I felt I deserved it but the manager makes the decisions," he said.
"The best I have been doing is to come on and make an impact; I certainly did."