Sergio Ramos is under contract at Real Madrid until the summer of 2017, so there is no need for the panic button to be pressed in the Spanish capital when it comes to his immediate future. Speculation is, however, continuing to suggest that his days at the Santiago Bernabeu may be numbered. Two years may be a long time in the real world, but in footballing circles it represents a stage at which decisions need to start being made regarding future association. Take a look at Liverpool, for example, and the saga they currently find themselves engulfed in regarding the future of Real-linked Raheem Sterling. The 20-year-old England international has 24 months remaining on his current deal at Anfield, but discussions regarding fresh terms have come to nothing and the Reds suddenly find themselves in a position where they may have no choice but to cash in on his services. This is a stage where prized assets still hold considerable value, as there is no pressure on the seller to commit to a transfer. The further you move down this road, though, the quicker that valuation drops, to the point where you have to take what you can get once the final year/few months of an agreement is reached – as nobody wants to lose out altogether in the free agent market. Real, then, find themselves at this crossroad when it comes to Ramos. His value to the cause cannot be underestimated, as a veteran – at the age of just 29 – of 10 years at the Bernabeu and a key figure in three league title triumphs and the much sought-after ‘La Decima’ Champions League success of 2013/14. Any plans Real have of getting back on top of things at home and abroad may rest on their ability to retain key men, with La Liga betting markets already placing them at 13/8 at the time of writing with Barcelona at 8/11 in the pursuit of top domestic honours, while they have also slipped behind their fiercest of rivals on the continental front. World Cup winner Ramos, a man who will forever give his all for the good of the collective cause, will be hurting as much as anyone at seeing the big prizes heading to Catalunya, but he may also be wondering whether he has had enough of that particular tussle and contemplating whether it is time for a change. Chelsea, under the guidance of former Real boss Jose Mourinho, have long been credited with holding an interest in the classy centre-half, while recent reports suggest that Manchester United would welcome the opportunity to add his presence to their ambitious redevelopment project at Old Trafford. His representative, and brother, Rene Ramos has been doing little to curb the rumours either. Those remarks were reportedly made in the wake of rumours suggesting that Ramos has grown disillusioned with life after seeing his latest contract demands knocked back, with there a feeling on his part that his standing in the global game is not being recognised. Whether that is the case remains open to debate, but Real – a side so accustomed to doing the chasing and getting what they want – will be aware that they are suddenly playing with fire and now risk losing a talismanic figure to England that really should have been seeing out his playing days as a club legend in his homeland.