Sergio Ramos is a Madrid legend but he wouldn’t be the first one they’ve got shot of (just look at Ronaldo) and Zinedine Zidane has replacements lined up… he wants more money to stay but NO ONE ends their Real career on their own terms
- Sergio Ramos has still not reached agreement with Real Madrid over a new deal
- Madrid have offered him a contract but don’t want to pay him any more money
- The club have never been afraid to take on legends near the ends of their careers
- Ramos, 35, wants to stay but there is no guarantee of a happy ending
It’s pantomime season at Real Madrid at the moment with both Sergio Ramos and the club posturing their way into the last six months of his contract.
As Manchester United well know, Ramos and club president Florentino Perez have history when it comes to falling out before making up over a new contract. But it’s now five years since Ramos was given a new deal after flirting with United.
Things have changed – he will be 35 in March and the club is feeling the financial strain of the pandemic. His brother and agent, Rene, shared a tweet criticising the club for dragging its heels over a new deal.
Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos could leave the club soon with contract talks at an impasse
Majority of Marca readers voted Ramos shouldn’t get more money in current financial climate
Ramos led Madrid to the LaLiga last season but that has no clout when it comes to his new deal
But as brilliant as Ramos was in the last 11 games of last season in leading Madrid to the title, such gestures might have a more limited effect than in previous years, not least because Sevilla’s Jules Kounde counts Zinedine Zidane among his admirers and is just one of several possible replacements if Ramos leaves.
Bayern Munich’s David Alaba is, like Ramos, out of contract in June and is only 28. He could also be Madrid’s solution, although there would be little ‘free’ about the transfer once wages and signing-on fee were sorted.
Zidane would prefer Kounde, who at 22 is versatile, experienced beyond his years, and a compatriot to Raphael Varane, whom he would end up playing alongside. Villarreal’s Pau Torres is another of Europe’s finest and would be an option if Kounde proved too expensive.
Ramos has been offered a two-year contract on the same £10.8m-per-year net deal that he is on now. He is currently exercising his right to pass on the first offer on the basis that, with the 10 per cent pay cut the players have agreed to take during the pandemic, accepting the same money means, in effect, earning less.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has never been afraid to take on club legends
Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to end careers at Real but were shown the door
David Alaba (left) and Jules Kounde (right) have been lined up as possible replacements
Ramos needs to win the PR war and pushing the idea that Real Madrid have disrespected their captain and one of their greatest ever players by inflicting on him the ignominy of being on that list of players who are out of contract in six months is one way to try to do that.
Ramos’ Madrid career
Red cards: 8
4x Champions League
5x La Liga
2x Copa del Rey
4x Spanish Super Cup
4x FIFA Club World Cup
3x UEFA Super Cup
But, with the club suffering the effects of empty stadiums and no football tourism income, there might be less sympathy for him than in other seasons. A Marca poll published Wednesday had 76 per cent saying that Ramos ‘should understand the situation’ and tailor demands accordingly. Only 24 per cent voting said that he deserved to be given what he was asking for.
Ramos is a Real Madrid legend, but so were Fernando Hierro, Raul, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo and that did not stop club president Perez taking them on when their careers at the club began to wind down.
Hierro was the Ramos of his day, having won three European Cups, but when in 2003, aged 35, he wanted a new two-year deal, he was told it was time for the club and the player to move on. It didn’t matter that just days before he had just captained the team to the league title.
Raul signed a lifetime contract in 2008 but was still gone from Real Madrid by the end of 2010. The idea he would never wear another shirt was ruined by a switch to Schalke. Casillas had to leave for Porto and Ronaldo was allowed to join Juventus. All of them wanted to end their competitive European careers at Madrid, on their terms, and were not able to.
The similarity with Hierro is striking. Ramos is nearly the same age and has also just won a title. He might look at the precedent another way. Although Hierro never ended up playing against Madrid or playing for a rival club – he moved to Qatar and Bolton – the LaLiga giants struggled to replace him.
They tried young players such as Paco Pavon and Alvaro Mejia, and they spent big on tried and tested defenders from other leagues. Walter ‘The Wall’ Samuel arrived from Roma and England centre-back Jonathan Woodgate came from Newcastle.
Fernando Hierro’s exit is a cautionary tale as they struggled to replace him after he was let go
Ramos wants to stay at Madrid but there is a long way to go before there’s any happy ending
In 2015 he was able to flirt with Manchester United to gain a bumper new contract, which was announced with great fanfare alongside his wife and son (pictured) – but not this time
Samuel had been a class act before and would be a class act after his brief stay at Madrid, but he was never a success at the Bernabeu. And although Woodgate’s elegant efficiency and brilliant distribution was made for Madrid, injuries never gave him the game time he needed to establish himself.
Will Real Madrid struggle to replace Ramos in the same way? They could also regret losing him if he thrives elsewhere. They believed Ronaldo was in decline but he is still breaking individual records at Juventus.
Ramos has the same fitness obsession and a hunger to go on playing and winning. If he were to thrive at Paris Saint Germain and Madrid were to miss out on Kounde and struggle with Alaba, Ramos would have the last laugh.
We will never find out if Ramos signs the new deal? The fact that they have offered it to him suggests they do not want to lose him. Those close to the Spain centre back says he does not want to leave. That’s a start but there is still a long way to go before we get the standard happy ending.
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