Champions League

Ronaldo presents a happier face as Real celebrate

2018-05-28 14:29
Cristiano Ronaldo (AP)

Madrid - As Cristiano Ronaldo milked every last drop of his moment on the microphone at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night, it was hard to imagine this was a player about to leave Real Madrid.

Real's players were introduced one-by-one onto the podium and when Ronaldo's moment came, a gap left after "Cristiano" for the delirious fans to fill, he predictably made the most of it.

A Portugal flag draped over his shoulders, Ronaldo pirouetted before counting out on his fingers to five, the number of Champions League titles he now owns.

He pulled out the badge on his shirt and kissed it, twice, before blowing a few more kisses to the crowd. By now they were chanting "Cristiano" and some of the Real players were joining in.

Even when Marcelo, the next one out, emerged, the grinning Ronaldo strutted back down the walkway to welcome him with the pair's familiar celebratory dance.

This Ronaldo was almost unrecognisable from the one that had, less than 24 hours before, been prickly and restless, as he insisted he could leave Real, despite them just beating Liverpool to mark a third consecutive European triumph.

Even amid wrangling contract negotiations, a frosty relationship with president Florentino Perez, a perceived lack of support in his row with Spanish tax authorities and perhaps even jealousy over Reals courting of Neymar, his timing was inexplicably bad.

Zinedine Zidane had summed up the mood. "I'm not thinking about that now," he said.

Microphone in hand, however, Ronaldo was back at the centre of things on Sunday and this time his message was different.

"What can I say?" he said over the supporters' cheers. "You have given us so much love in every single match. It's an honour to play for the biggest club in the world, that's the truth, it's an honour."

As the fans roared, Real's players bounced around Ronaldo, chanting "Cristiano, quedate", "Cristiano, stay", and soon the whole stadium was singing too.

When Ronaldo resumed, the big screen briefly catching a stoney-faced Gareth Bale next to a beaming Casemiro, he said: "Thank you, this is very important to me. I am so happy with your passion, the passion of the players and coaches.

"What I like most is winning. So for one last time, one, two three - Hala Madrid!"

Earlier, in the Plaza de Cibeles, he had signed off a more modest speech with: "Thank you guys and see you next year."

At euphoric events like these, there must always be a pull to draw the biggest cheer, but Ronaldo's behaviour at least suggests Real could satisfy the 33-year-old if they want to.

He reportedly seeks a new deal in line with Lionel Messi's at Barcelona and Neymar's at PSG.

But Perez was not impressed by Ronaldo's posturing on Saturday. "We hear the same every summer," Perez said. "And then nothing happens."

In 2012, Ronaldo said he was "sad" and last year, Portuguese newspaper A Bola claimed the forward wanted to leave, unhappy with the club not backing him in the face of tax investigators.

Perez and Ronaldo need each other, but neither will want to be seen to have lost the argument. At the very least, Real's celebrations showed nothing has been decided yet.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Barcelona v Slavia Prague, Camp Nou 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v RB Leipzig, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Genk, Anfield 22:00
Lyon v Benfica, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Valencia v Lille, Mestalla 22:00
Napoli v Red Bull Salzburg, San Paolo 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Ajax, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 06 November 2019
Bayern Munchen v Olympiacos, Allianz Arena 19:55
Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Atalanta v Manchester City, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid, BayArena 22:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk, Maksimir Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Club Brugge, Parc des Princes 22:00
Real Madrid v Galatasaray, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
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