Cristiano Ronaldo collects European Golden Boot and says he expects to be at Real Madrid 'for many years to come'

The Portuguese striker, who scored 31 goals in La Liga last term, has been linked with a return to Manchester United in recent months

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The Independent Football

Cristiano Ronaldo secured another hat-trick in Madrid on Wednesday afternoon as he collected his third European Golden Boot award - and insisted he will remain with the European champions “for many years to come”.

The freescoring forward received the award from Madrid president Florentino Perez at the Meliá Castilla hotel just a mile away from the club’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium. He scored 31 goals in La Liga last season and shared the accolade with Luis Suárez, who was handed his award by Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish in a separate ceremony in Barcelona last month.

“This is my third Golden Boot but it feels like I am winning it for the first time,” said the Portuguese star. “Last year was an extraordinary year for me. I'm very fortunate to be here at Real Madrid with this team. Without my teammates, this would not be possible.” He added: “This is very special for me, I am very happy.”

The 29-year-old is the only player to have won the award in two different leagues and one of just two players to have won it with different clubs. Mário Jardel was the other with Porto and Sporting Lisbon. He poured more cold water on any lingering mumblings of a move back to Old Trafford, however, by pledging his future to the Spanish giants. “I will remain at Real Madrid for many years to come and will try to do my best,” he said. “I am a serious person in my work. Since I arrived, I have showed that I always want more. My numbers are very good.”

Those numbers have continued to impress this season with Ronaldo already in good shape to retain the award for the first time. He has scored a stunning 17 goals in just nine league appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season and will look to continue his trait of scoring in every Liga match he has played in this term when Madrid play host to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

He won the award for the first time with Manchester United in the 2007-08 campaign when he scored 31 goals and claimed it for the first time with Madrid in 2010-11 when he went even better with a stunning 40 league goals. His third success means he joins Barcelona forward Lionel Messi as the only player to have won the award three times. He is only the second Madrid player to win it after Mexican Hugo Sánchez.

It put a smile back on the face of a player Perez described as “the best best in the world” when he spoke at the ceremony. Ronaldo wanted to attend the presentation as the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer but his missed his chance on Tuesday night against Liverpool. The in-form forward went into the match just one behind Raúl, who leads the list with 71, but failed to find the back of the net for the first time in 13 matches in all competitions. That means Messi, who is two behind the former Spain international, now has the chance to etch his name into the record books when Barcelona visit Ajax tonight.

It is just the second time the award has been shared after Thierry Henry and Diego Forlan both scored 25 goals for Arsenal and Villarreal respectively in the 2004-05 season. Reports in Spain suggested Ronaldo could have picked up his award at the same time as Suárez but that he rejected the idea.

 

Perez introduced his star man as “the worthy heir of Alfredo Di Stéfano” and said he is “an example to all young sportsmen” who has “no limits” and “continues to search for perfection”. The Madrid president was sat next to Ronaldo at the presentation while team-mates Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale joined him on the front row and Ronaldo’s mother and son were also in attendance.

The award adds to the growing and illustrious collection the Portuguese international has received this year. It started with the Ballon d’Or in Switzerland, the biggest individual prize in football, an award Ronaldo is favourite to retain this year. He lifted his second Champions League in his home country in May, breaking the record of most goals scored in the competition in one season with 17, and was named the Spanish Football League’s best player at the league’s annual awards gala last month.

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