Cristiano Ronaldo revels in 'incredible year' amid Real contract uncertainty
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has looked back on an "incredible" 2017 amid continuing uncertainty over his long-term future at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo, 32, won five trophies last year with Madrid, including La Liga and the Champions League, as well as a fifth career Ballon d'Or, second successive FIFA Best Player prize and a third UEFA Player of the Year for 2016-17.
Speaking to AS surrounded by his personal awards as he spent New Year's Day on his home island of Madeira, he spoke of the "collaboration" he had received from those around him throughout his career.
¡Buenos días! Aquí tenéis la portada de AS del 2 de enero de 2018 pic.twitter.com/ZfKOe1tYC6— AS (@diarioas) January 2, 2018
"2017 was an incredible year on many levels," Ronaldo said. "It is a tremendous feeling to look back and see what I achieved, from starting out kicking a ball on Madeira's streets.
"I was blessed with talent, and I have worked very, very hard to get the most out of it, but I would not have achieved that without the collaboration of many people who have helped me professionally.
"I want to dedicate this moment to my family, who are always there in the good and bad moments, and to my friends, without forgetting those who believed in me when I was just a kid full of dreams, my coaches and teammates, at all my clubs and the national side."
Despite his successes in 2017, Ronaldo's year ended with the impasse over his contract still unresolved, with the forward having spoken publicly about his desire for new terms after last month's Club World Cup success.
In addition to the Ronaldo interview, AS ran a story headlined "Cristiano is waiting for a call from the club to renew his contract," with the report saying the €24 million net he earns per annum is a lot less than the €40m a year received by Barcelona's Lionel Messi or Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, even though those players have had less success recently.
When last commenting on the contract issue, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said Ronaldo's current deal was signed only a year ago and runs until June 2021, when he will be 36.
The winter break also saw continued speculation in the UK press claiming that Ronaldo was "fighting for a move" and pressuring Perez to allow him to leave for less than €100m next summer, with former club Manchester United and PSG again mentioned as potential destinations.
Recent days also brought new developments in Ronaldo's ongoing tax case, where Spanish prosecutors have accused him of a €14.7m fraud in taxes due on image rights income.
El Mundo reported that a leading figure within Spain's tax authority gave evidence on Dec. 7, and told the judge that Ronaldo's continuing unwillingness to co-operate or admit any wrongdoing left him open to the possibility of serving time in jail.
The player and his representatives, Gestifute, have always maintained innocence of all charges.
On the day of the most recent El Mundo report, a tweet on Ronaldo's personal account read "I'm a prisoner of these beautiful babies" over a photo showing him with his three most recent children.
Estou PRESO a estes bebés lindos ahahahah ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/RogaRwDJra— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 26, 2017
Twelve months ago, when the tax issue was first making headlines, Ronaldo joked about being happy that the 2016 Ballon d'Or he had just won was given out "tax free."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan