Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo close to signing Real extension; Gazidis backs Arsenal to spend; and more

Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo close to signing Real extension; Gazidis backs Arsenal to spend; and more

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Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo close to signing Real extension; Gazidis backs Arsenal to spend; and more

CristianoRonaldoLevante1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

When Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to retire at the club, he wasn’t just saying that to raise his transfer price.

As of Friday, Ronaldo looks set to sign a contract extension with Madrid, one that would keep him with the club through 2018, according to reports out of Spain. The reports state that while Ronaldo would get a salary increase, he would also receive goal bonuses and a large amount of cash for winning the Ballon D’or, or other individual awards.

Since moving to Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo has won La Liga and the Copa Del Rey just once, as Barcelona has dominated the scenes. Now with the Catalonian club’s star waning just a bit, Ronaldo can seize upon a chance to continue his white-hot goal scoring form for Madrid and potentially guide the club to their first Champions League title since 2002.

Ronaldo, currently with the Portugal National Team ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier in Russia, scored 34 goals in 34 La Liga matches this past season and 55 goals in all competitions.

Here are some more stories to get your Friday kicked off:

ARSENAL PREPARED TO SPEND BIG

Arsenal have spent the last eight seasons wandering in the Premier League wilderness, searching for a coveted piece of silverware to end a drought. If the recent statements from CEO Ivan Gazidis are to be believed, the wait could be over.

Gazidis said that Arsenal is ready to splash the cash and buy whatever they need with transfers this summer, according to reports out of England. When asked if Arsenal were prepared to spend more than $40 million on a transfer and pay more than $300,000 in wages per week, Gazidis told BBC Sport: “Of course, we could do that. We could do more than that.”

The London club has been rumored to be interested in making bids with the likes of Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, both of whom would have previously been well out of Arsenal’s expected price range. Arsenal’s previous transfer record was the $20.8 million spent on Andrei Arshavin in January of 2009, who was just released this week as his contract comes to a close on June 30.

Gazidis also commented on the status of manager Arsene Wenger, saying that him and the board believe that Wenger is the man for the job and they plan to offer him a new contract this year. Wenger is entering the final year of his contract this season.

UEFA SECRETARY GENERAL HOPES FOR WINTER WORLD CUP

Add UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino to the list of those calling for a Winter World Cup in Qatar 2022.

Following in the wake of public comments over the last few months by FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, among others, Infantino is the next to put his name on the list, saying that he believes that soccer should only be played in the best time period for it, in this case the winter, to escape the oppressive heat.

“Whenever you play the World Cup should be the best period for it. I had the same reflections on South Africa in 2010,” Infantino told the Times of London. “Four years earlier in Germany it was nice sunshine. South Africa is a beautiful country, but at five o’clock, it’s night and it’s 0C. It’s not a celebration of football.

“I fully share this view that you have to play in the best period for football; that is not June or July in Qatar. This is an issue that FIFA has to sort out. The sooner they do it, the better. The decision for 2022 was taken in 2010, so in 12 years you can organize yourself.”

Blatter has stated that it will be down to the Qatar organizing committee to decide whether they want to move the World Cup schedule to the winter.

QUICK KICKS

Manchester City has confirmed the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho. (REPORT)

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso had surgery on his groin on Friday in Germany, likely keeping him out for three to four months. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund right back Lukasz Piszczek has undergone hip surgery, putting him on the injury table for the next five months. (REPORT)

Spain defeated Russia in the first match on Thursday, 1-0, on a goal from Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata in the UEFA European Under-21 Championships. (REPORT)

The Netherlands and Germany followed with an absolute cracker, as one-time Everton target Leroy Fer scored a header in the 89th minute to give the Dutch a 3-2 victory over Germany. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you believe Ronaldo should stay at Madrid? Do you see Arsenal spending the cash this summer? Do you see the World Cup moving to the winter in 2022?

Share your thoughts below.

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