LISBON • Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is already looking towards life after football as he unveiled plans to invest more than €37 million (S$56.8 million) in hotels bearing his CR7 moniker in his native Portugal as well as Madrid and New York.
"Many footballers finish their careers without knowing what they want to do. For me, it's clear - I want to take care of my brands," he said on Thursday.
The triple Fifa World Player of the Year unveiled his plans to link up with the Pestana Hotel Group, which like him is a native of Madeira, with CR7 hotels planned in three cities linked to his career - Funchal, Lisbon and Madrid - and another in New York, where he has been linked with Major League Soccer.
"At 30 years, I still have a lot of options. I have great support around me, I'm really happy," he said. "Other projects will come. What I want is that my name will always be the best in whatever domain I work."
Although he hopes his footballing career will continue "another six, seven or even 10 years", it is unlikely that he will follow a career on the touchline.
A DEFINITE GOAL
Many footballers finish their careers without knowing what they want to do. For me it's clear - I want to take care of my brands.
CRISTIANO RONALDO , on his post-football aspirations
OUT OF THE TOUCHLINE
I don't see myself as a coach, it's not my ambition. But who knows if I'll change my mind!
RONALDO , saying he has no plans to coach after hanging up his boots
"I don't see myself as a coach, it's not my ambition," he said. "But who knows if I'll change my mind!"
Born in a working-class area in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, Ronaldo was scouted aged 11 by Sporting Lisbon.
He went on to play for Manchester United before joining Real Madrid in 2009 and has a contract which runs until 2018.
The best-paid footballer in the world with €70 million in earnings last year, Ronaldo already has a CR7 fashion line, and has lent his image to many other brands.
But he has not forgotten his roots and it is on his native island that he will open his first hotel.
"Madeira is the most important starting point for me," he said.
The first hotel will open there in the summer of next year. It will be followed by another in Lisbon, where Ronaldo moved as a youngster, with a Madrid site planned for 2017.
"My world is that of football but life changes and I always wanted to own a hotel," he explained.
"It was impossible to throw myself alone into a project of this scale, to each his own area of competence. Pestana is the best Portuguese group in this business."