All good things come to an end eventually, and so it’s the case for Real Madrid legend centre back Sergio Ramos. The Spanish defender, who has served with distinction as the captain of both Los Blancos and the Spanish national team, is leaving the Bernebeu Stadium after sixteen long and glorious years. The player said that he wanted to retire there many times, and the fans didn’t want to see him leave either. Nevertheless, Real Madrid has huge debts to pay off and need to think about the future. That’s necessitated some difficult decisions. The highly respected captain has been deemed surplus to requirements at the age of 35.
Among fans of Real Madrid, Ramos is known as “The Eternal Captain.” It’s impossible to say whether he’s the greatest defender ever to play for the club, but he’s definitely in the top three. That’s an incredible achievement, given the long, rich history of the club. It will be very strange to see him playing for another club, but it’s going to happen. Ramos has already said that he wants to play for Spain at the 2022 World Cup and firmly believes that he’s still good enough to play at the highest level for another 2-3 years. That begs the question of where he’s going to go next.
In theory, most clubs in the world should want a player of Ramos’ quality. In practice, it might not be the case. At 35, and with a recent history of injuries, Ramos represents a risk – doubly so because of the high salary he’ll ask for. For a football club, it’s like working out whether to place a large bet on an online slots website. You’ve heard good things about the online slots game in question, and you know that it’s paid out huge jackpots in the past. You also know that a lot of money has been spent on it already, and the odds might be against it paying out a large sum in the near future. It’s rarely a good idea to chase another big win after you’ve just had one when you’re playing online slots at Rose Slots Canada – the odds simply don’t favour you. Chasing Ramos could involve spending more money than you’ll get back in return. Still, there’s always a gambler out there somewhere in football. We expect to see him pulling on the jersey at a big club next season.
The smart money says that he won’t stay in Spain. It would be too emotionally difficult for Ramos to play against Real Madrid in La Liga. There might be a possible exception if we’re talking about Sevilla – his old club – but even among Sevilla’s fans, there’s a dislike of Ramos. His combative style during his many years with Real Madrid made him an enemy of the fans of most other teams. It’s likely that he’ll have to look abroad if he wants to continue playing. Considering the salary he’s likely to ask for, it’s unlikely he’ll to go Germany or Italy. That leaves a handful of teams in the English Premier League, or perhaps Paris Saint Germain in France.
There have been suggestions that Ramos will join PSG since last month, even before it became apparent that he and Madrid couldn’t come to terms on a new contract. Mauricio Pochettino – who has finally committed to staying in Paris after interest from his former club Tottenham Hotspur – says he wants to strengthen every area of his team after a disappointing season. They missed out on the Champions League yet again but also failed to win the French league – unthinkable for a club of PSG’s size. A marquee signing like Ramos would be a sign that they were on the right track. This would also be an “easy option” for Ramos. He’d have a high salary, the prestige of playing for one of the world’s best-known clubs, and little to worry about from the attacking forces of most clubs in the French league. PSG is probably his most likely suitor.
According to reports in Spain, though, Manchester City might have jumped ahead of PSG in the queue. That would be a surprise to almost everybody. There’s nothing wrong with City’s defence as it is. In Ruben Dias, they have a defender who was arguably the best in the world last year, and his partner at the back is Aymeric Laporte. They alternative their roles with John Stones. Dias is a first-choice pick for the Portuguese national team, just as Laporte is with Spain and Stones is with England. There doesn’t appear to be room for Ramos unless – as has been suggested elsewhere – Laporte moves to Barcelona this summer. That would involve a big transfer fee, though, and Barcelona doesn’t have that kind of money to spend.
Perhaps Manchester City’s neighbours make for a more likely destination. Manchester United are known to be interested in Ramos – and Ramos is thought to be interested in them, too. When it briefly looked as if Ramos might leave Madrid in 2015, he decided that United was his preferred option. He’s maintained an interest in the club ever since. United badly need a reliable partner for Harry Maguire in the centre of their defence, and Ramos would fit the bill even if it were only for a season or two. The Red Devils proved last year that they could get great returns from veteran players after signing Edinson Cavani. The Old Trafford club is climbing back towards the pinnacle of English football after finishing second in the Premier League last season. The project could interest Ramos, and the money he’d ask for wouldn’t be an issue.
There are also whispers that Chelsea might be interested. The idea of Ramos signing with the new European champions is interesting but may not be realistic. Chelsea already has Thiago Silva at centreback. Silva has been an excellent acquisition, but the pairing of two players in their mid-30s in defence might not be a great idea when you consider the speed of the Premier League. Silva has just extended his contract for another year, so that may have killed any interest in Ramos even if there was any there to begin with.
It shouldn’t take us long to get an answer to this question. Ramos will want to join his new club in time for the beginning of pre-season training. PSG might be tempting, but don’t be surprised if the next time you see him he’s wearing the famous red of Manchester United.