It’s difficult to imagine Real Madrid without Sergio Ramos and yet the Spanish champions might soon have to face up to a future without their spiritual leader. The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has so far refused to sign an extension, with latest reports putting significant distance between the club and the player in negotiations.
Ramos reportedly wants a two-year extension while Real Madrid are determined to stick with their policy of only handing players over 30 one-year contracts at a time.
While Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez are also set to become free agents this summer, it’s the future of the club’s captain that is dominating the agenda in Spanish football right now.
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Of course, we have seen this sort of thing from Ramos before. It’s not so long ago the central defender told Real Madrid of his desire to leave for Manchester United. This ultimately turned out to be a ploy from Ramos to squeeze improved contract terms out of Florentino Perez with the Spain international signing a new long-term deal just weeks later.
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The 2019 summer window also saw reports of Ramos having his head turned by an offer from the Chinese Super League. While there was no public transfer request made by the player, there was a sense he was willing to put the pressure on Perez ahead of contract talks that have come to a head this season.
It’s entirely possible Ramos is using the tactic again. But what if he isn’t? What if the 34-year-old is genuinely exploring other options having been underwhelmed by the contract offer Real Madrid have made him? He can, after all, talk to other clubs now. Who has Ramos been on the phone to?
Paris Saint-Germain would appear to be one potential escape route from the Spanish capital for Ramos. Mauricio Pochettino’s system is dependent on a strong defensive basis and the French champions are currently lacking at the back after allowing Thiago Silva to leave at the end of last season.
However, Silva was allowed to leave due to PSG sporting director Leonardo’s reluctance to hand a 36-year-old a new contract. Ramos is two years younger than Silva, but would Leonardo be willing to sign another veteran on mega-money wages? Why would he make an exception for a 34-year-old?
Reports put Ramos on over £300,000-a-week at Real Madrid. This would make the Spaniard one of the Premier League’s highest-paid players, should he make the move to England on similar contract terms, with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David de Gea, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling on comparable wages right now.
This limits Ramos’ potential destinations. The two Manchester clubs, City and United, could feasibly take on his wages, but with Ruben Dias and John Stones forging a strong understanding at centre back for the former this season and the latter generally targeting a younger profile of player in the transfer market, Ramos isn’t a good fit here either.
As already referenced, the Chinese Super League has been previously mooted as a possible landing spot for Ramos, while links to MLS and America surface from time to time. But if one of the best defenders of his generation wants to stay in the European limelight, he might find Real Madrid’s offer of a one-year deal is the best offer he will receive.
Real Madrid’s soul as a club can be found in Ramos. He is the embodiment of everything the Spanish capital club stands for. It seems right that Ramos should spend the rest of his career at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the same was also said of Cristiano Ronaldo before he left for Juventus. Take nothing for granted.
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