The Cristiano Ronaldo career watch will begin … now

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Reports out of Spain are rampant that Cristiano Ronaldo, certainly one of the world’s top players, has indicated that he will not sign a new deal with Real Madrid. His current contract runs through 2015.

While Ronaldo won’t be going anywhere soon, Real Madrid will certainly want to make top strategic use of the Portuguese star. Translation: they would be foolish not to maximize profit for a man who could potentially break the all-time transfer fee record.

Assuming Ronaldo is serious about not re-upping for the Spanish giants – that is, assuming this is not just another “sad” period – the most likely move would come this summer, when transfer movement spikes. (“Spikes,” that is, relative to the secondary winter window, when movement tends to be more auxiliary, generally about filling gaps and such.)

He will be 28 years old next summer. Still moody, in all likelihood, but still young enough to be at the top of his game. Perhaps at the very pinnacle, considering that he’s still “young enough to do,” but now “old enough to know,” as they say.

If Madrid waits until the summer of 2014, they could potentially lose Ronaldo with no compensation if he signs a pre-contract to move once his Madrid deal is up.

Expect to see a lot of speculation over two clubs here:

First is Manchester United, where Ronaldo launched his career of fabulous.

And then there’s Paris Saint-Germain, where the well of funds seems bottomless. The speculation is already pedal-to-the-metal that Ronaldo will wind up at Parc des Princes.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

AP Photo/LM Otero
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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

[ MORE: Everton wins Europa opener ]

Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).