- La Liga
Ronaldo: I'll see out my contract, after that who knows?
Cristiano Ronaldo says he is planning to see out his current contract at Real Madrid but cannot say what will happen when that deal ends in June 2015.
Persistent speculation in the Spanish media has claimed Ronaldo was either looking for a significant pay rise to €15 million a year or could be set for a summer move to big spending Paris Saint-Germain.
However, in an interview published on Monday on FIFA.com, the Portugal international said he was set on fulfilling the deal he agreed when joining Madrid in 2009.
"I want to see out my contract at Real Madrid," Ronaldo said. "I am very clear about that. After that, well, I do not know what will happen in the future."
Ronaldo missed his side's game at Osasuna on Saturday through suspension as Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw - a result that leaves Madrid 18 points adrift of Primera Division leaders Barcelona at the halfway point of the Primera Division season.
Retaining the La Liga title now looks unlikely, he admitted, but the team still have much to play for this season.
"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."
Looking towards next month's Champions League last-16 clash with his former club Manchester United, Ronaldo said he saw the ties as a difficult step towards a tenth European Cup for Madrid - the fabled La Decima.
"Every Madridista wants that tenth 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."
Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was an interested spectator at United's 2-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday as the Red Devils maintained their seven-point advantage in the Premier League table. Los Blancos are capable of overcoming Sir Alex Ferguson's side, Ronaldo said, and particularly if they regain their best form.
"No team is unbeatable, but when we are at our best we are a really good side," he said. "Manchester United have started the English championship race very well and are a long way ahead of the rest but, still, if we play the way we are capable of, we can beat them. To do that we need to pull together and play as a team, like we have done in so many matches before."
Madrid's poor performances this year have contributed to further media criticism of Mourinho, and Ronaldo feels this has affected the players' performances.
"I think that, yes, the pressure is too great and that sometimes it can affect us," he said. "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 do not think what the papers say matters too much, so there's no need to over-dramatise the issue."
Madrid are next in action at home to Valencia in Tuesday's Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at the Bernabeu, where Ronaldo is expected to return to the starting line-up, along with Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema and Ricardo Carvalho.
Ronaldo said he hoped Madrid fans, who have whistled Mourinho's name before recent games, realised that the Portuguese coach was working for the good of the club.
"People do protest and you have to respect that, though I think they should be a bit patient with him," he said. "To me it is very clear that Mourinho always wants what is best for the club and will fight to the death to defend it. All of us who work alongside him know that, but you have still got to show respect for the fans' opinion. In my view he is the best coach in the world. He has got loads of experience and has won everything there is to win."