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The Real Madrid chief stressed the importance of the forward to the club, backtracked on Iker Casillas comments and shed light on Mesut Ozil's exit

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez believes that Cristiano Ronaldo is a "once a century" player.

The former Manchester United forward signed a new contract to keep him tied to the Santiago Bernabeu until 2018.

Perez insists Ronaldo, 28, is worth every penny but stresses the importance of having quality around him, name-checking summer signings Gareth Bale, Isco and Asier Illarramendi.

"We are privileged to have Cristiano in our club," he told the Spanish TV show Jugones. "He’s one of those players that only comes along once a century and we are lucky enough to have him in our team.

"But the presence of other foreign players like Bale, the best Spanish players like Isco and Illarramendi and academy players is also vital to our project."

The Madrid chief also retracted comments he made about unsettled goalkeeper Iker Casillas hurting the team with his mistakes.

"I fully respect Casillas and admire him, but there’s always someone with bad intentions who wants to tell things in a way that’s not true," he continued. "All I said at the time was that people close to us don’t always help us. But I meant that for everyone.

"I said it in support of Casillas, as a matter of fact, not against him. We are all very proud of Casillas, he is the best goalkeeper in Spain’s history.

"In life we all go through good times and hard times, but we have to keep going."

Perez attempted to silence the continued debate about whether Madrid should have sold Mesut Ozil, insisting the midfielder was not forced out of Arsenal.

He added: "Ozil left because he wanted to. He made it clear he wanted to leave, we were told an offer would come in for him, and that’s that.

"We discussed it with the coaching staff and they agreed to it. There are other players that didn’t want to leave and they are still here.

"If a player has a contract and doesn’t want to leave, he doesn’t. [Angel] Di Maria is a good example of that and we are delighted that he is still here."

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