Cristiano Ronaldo ended months of speculation Sunday when he signed a new contract with Real Madrid that will keep him in the Spanish capital until 2018.
The 28-year-old inked the deal with club president Florentino Perez that extended his former commitment to Madrid through 2015 by three more years.
"It's a very special day for me," Ronaldo told a packed media hall. "I'm very grateful, above all to the president and to my fans who always support me. It's for them that I will continue on here until what could be the end of my career."
Ronaldo's new contract — which reportedly includes a large salary increase — came shortly after Gareth Bale displaced him as the world's most expensive transfer when Madrid paid Tottenham €100 million ($132 million) to acquire the Welsh winger.
Madrid did not disclose financial details of the new deal.
Ronaldo has scored more than 50 goals in each of the last three seasons with Madrid after joining in 2009 on a then-record transfer of €93 million from Manchester United. The Portugal forward has helped Madrid win one Spanish league and one Copa del Rey, although the team has come short of an elusive 10th European Cup despite his incredible goal tallies.
"Ronaldo has won the hearts of all of Madrid's fans," Perez said. "And his goal scoring numbers are simply amazing. He has reached 203 games and scored 204 goals with Madrid. There are no precedents for such spectacular figures."
Real Madrid's in-house TV station showed Ronaldo, sporting a dark blue blazer and large glasses, sign his contract with Perez. The two then held a news conference where they spoke after a video showed Ronaldo's best goals with Madrid to the sounds of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best."
Ronaldo had been linked to a possible return to United or a move to another major European club after negotiations between him and the club regarding a new contract had apparently stalled when he said one year ago that he was "sad" at Madrid.
When asked how he felt now, the beaming Ronaldo had a completely different answer from this time last season.
"Maybe that day I was a little sad," Ronaldo said. "It's normal. It's human. Maybe I shouldn't have said it publicly, but I am not perfect. I make mistakes like everyone else, but it happened and that page has been turned.
"Now I am fine, comfortable and very motivated. I want to continue at this club for many years and give it my all like always."
He also politely shut the door on a return to Manchester.
"Everyone knows that I was at Manchester for six years and it was a club that gave me many, many things," he said. "But Manchester is the past, now my club is Real Madrid. It's my home and my family and I am really happy here."
Ronaldo said that he had agreed verbally with Perez to sign a new contract at the end of last season and that the delay was due to sorting out the final details, but not about money.
"In life there are more important things than money," Ronaldo said. "It's important. I won't lie, but the project the club had for the future was more important. The club wants to sign the best players, and I feel included in that. I will be integrated in this project."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.