'Ronaldo will retire at Real Madrid'

The Portuguese’s agent, Jorge Mendes, claims the forward will not leave the Santiago Bernabeu, while he also lauded the prospects of Barcelona star Neymar

Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent has claimed that the two-time Ballon d’Or-winning forward will finish his playing career at Real Madrid.

The Portuguese was consistently linked with a return to Manchester United last year before putting pen to paper on a new deal which runs until June 2018, when he would have spent nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronaldo, who will be 33 years old in the summer of 2018, claimed last month that he would like to stay with the current European champions for longer than his existing deal if they will have him.

And his agent Jorge Mendes is convinced that the Portugal international, 29, will be a Real Madrid player until the day he hangs up his boots and suggested the club should consider retiring his No.7 shirt upon his departure.

“I got to know him when he was 15 years old, from then until now we’ve spoken together on most days,” he told Globo Esporte. “When I’m in Madrid we always meet up. Our relationship is more like a friendship.

“I believe that Cristiano will finish his career at Real Madrid. He’s happy at the club and is still keen to achieve more success in Madrid.

“Will the club retire his shirt number when he finishes at Madrid? With every respect to the likes of Raul and Di Stefano, no player can compare to Cristiano Ronaldo.

“He’s the best player in history and I’d suggest the best sportsperson of all-time – we’ll never see the likes of Cristiano again. It will be completely impossible.”

When asked if overtaking Barcelona forward Lionel Messi’s tally of four Ballons d’Or, Mendes responded: “If he stays fit, I’m sure he’ll remain the best for some time.”

Neymar mused over Christmas that he might never reach the level of Messi and Ronaldo, but Mendes thinks he’s destined to be among football’s greatest soon – even if he lamented it would not be while playing in the same team as his star Portuguese client.

“He’s not quite Cristiano, but he is fantastically talented,” the agent continued. “I’m confident that he’ll be amongst the best in the world in a few years. He has been unlucky that he has not ended up playing alongside Cristiano.”

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