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.