Despite initial concerns from fans, it has become quite apparent that Sergio Ramos is not using Manchester United as leverage to receive an improved deal for Real Madrid.
Ramos has told the club officials that he wants them to negotiate a transfer with United – and United only. The 29-year-old is also insisting that his future be resolved before July 12, the date Real Madrid is scheduled to leave for Australia to begin its preseason tour.
The defender’s desire to leave the club is not because a financial payday awaits him once a transfer to United is agreed by Madrid officials. Ramos is intent on leaving the club where he has spent the past ten seasons because his fractured relationship with Florentino Perez has reached the point of no return.
The club president has continually promised Ramos that he would improve his current deal with Real Madrid ever since the defender headed home the equalizing goal against Atletico Madrid in the dying moments of injury-time during the 2014 Champions League final.
During the post-match celebrations, after Madrid had secured its tenth European title, Perez made the following promise to Ramos: “I will improve your contract because you deserve it.”
But months followed and an improved deal was never addressed.
Aside from his efforts during the Champions League final in Lisbon, Ramos scored decisive goals in the semi-final and final of the Club World Cup and ended up winning the tournament’s Golden Ball award in Morocco.
The defender played a significant role in ultimately leading Real Madrid to a quartet of trophies – the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup – for the first time in a single calendar year.
However, while he was publicly lauded for his efforts, the team’s vice-captain was never presented with the improved offer that he was promised.
Ramos sat quietly while Perez extended deals for striker Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane and Luka Modric; and green-lit the signings of Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Lucas Silva, Martin Odegaard and Danilo over the past twelve months.
It is understood that a meeting took place between Ramos’ agent and Real Madrid at some point this season. However, a conclusion on the defender’s future was not reached.
If the current transfer saga was solely about the player not receiving an improved deal from the club, fans might think Ramos was over-reacting.
But Ramos also feels that Perez’s interference with sporting matters has become too excessive.
The veteran player was beside himself in May after the club president manipulated Real Madrid’s board into rubber-stamping the sacking of manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Despite public support from Ramos, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo; Perez ultimately had Ancelotti fired and quickly ushered in the arrival of Rafa Benitez from Napoli.
He is also “unhappy” with the way the club and Perez did not dismiss the transfer speculation which linked him with a switch to Barcelona last month.
Ramos believes his commitment to Real Madrid has gone above and beyond the call of duty over the past ten seasons, and he can’t understand why Perez and his camp continue to allow stories to be leaked which he feels have damaged his reputation with club supporters.
In addition, Ramos has watched while his close friend and team captain Iker Casillas has suffered at the hands of a section of Real Madrid fans over the past two seasons, and the defender does not want to endure the same treatment.
The Spain international has thought long and hard over his decision to leave and is now focused on the next big challenge of his career – proving himself in the England.
At 29, Ramos is still at an age where he can continue playing at his highest level for another three to four seasons. He has seen many of his international colleagues excel in the Premier League and is eager to enter the next phase of his career with Manchester United.
For now, the vice-captain is willing to remain quiet about the breakdown in the relationship between himself and the club until a transfer with United is negotiated.
However, when the time is right, Ramos will share the details of his fallout with Real Madrid and – more specifically – Florentino Perez.
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