Paul Merson makes surprise claim on Cristiano Ronaldo's future

Arsenal legend-turned-pundit Paul Merson believes Cristiano Ronaldo will call time on his career in the next couple of years rather than fizzling out until he drops his performance levels. The Portugal international has not been in the best of form since the start of the season, though he has shown signs of his old self since the turn of the year.

Speaking on Sky Sports' The Debate, Merson suggested that the 33-year-old may look to call time on his career when he is on a high, he said: "I think he is quite close to the end. When you are that good you have got to finish quite quickly, you can’t keep on dragging it on because it won’t look good. I just think at the moment Messi is ahead. When you watch the goals Messi’s goals are phenomenal."

Ronaldo has experienced one of his toughest seasons in the Spanish La Liga with his side 17 points behind league leaders Barcelona. And this has put additional pressure on him with Los Blancos having to win the Champions League for a record third-straight occasion to term the season a success.

Irrespective of the final result, club president Florentino Perez is said to have planned for a major spending spree in the summer with the Spaniard looking to maintain Los Blancos' reputation as the best club in Europe and across the world.

Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, and Paul Pogba are the prime attacking options that are being touted to make the move to the Bernabeu, whilst the club are also in the hunt for a new shot-stopper with David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois among the leading targets, as it stands.

Real Madrid got the edge over Paris Saint-Germain as they beat them 3-1 in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg, and they will be aiming to put in a similar showing at Parc des Princes to progress to the quarter-final stage of the elite competition.