MADRID (AFP) - Cristiano Ronaldo's unstoppable goal-scoring netted him a world record pay packet when he signed a contract renewal tying him to Real Madrid until 2018, Spain's press said on Monday.
Real gave no financial details of the 28-year-old Portugal striker's contract and estimates in the Spanish press varied widely.
Top-selling sports paper Marca said he would earn 17 million euros (S$28.7 million) net a year; El Mundo said he secured 18 million euros net including easily reached bonuses; and sports daily AS said he would receive 21 million euros net.
"How could I not love you?" ran the headline on Marca's front page across a photograph of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez embracing a grinning Ronaldo after the deal was signed on Sunday.
The agreement extinguished rumours that Ronaldo could make a sensational return to Manchester United when his former contract expired in 2015. He had left Old Trafford to join Madrid in 2009 for a then world-record 94 million euros.
It also meant Real got to keep their most prized asset.
"When a footballer spends four years scoring an average of a goal in each of the 200 games he plays and one day he sits down to discuss his contract with his club, you are talking about capitulation more than renewal," football analyst Carlos Carpio wrote in Marca.
"It is easy. The player asks and the club pays."
Rival sports paper AS said Ronaldo's performance had not brought the club the trophy haul it hoped for, with one La Liga victory, one domestic King's Cup and one Super Cup but it added that without his 203 goals in four years the club would have had nothing.
"Cristiano is staying until 2018 and that's a blessing. For Madrid fans and for the player. Obrigado ('Thank you' in Portuguese)," wrote the paper's football commentator Tomas Roncero.
Catalan sports papers, which tend to focus on the fortunes of Barcelona, took the Ronaldo deal in their stride.
Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo did not mention the Ronaldo contract on its front page.
Rival Barcelona-based sports paper Sport ran the headline: "Cristiano is not sad any more," a reference to Ronaldo's comment in September last year that he was "sad" in Real, sparking departure rumours.
Inside, the paper asked its readers: "Does Cristiano deserve to earn 18 million?"