Sergio Ramos

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Ramos equals Casillas’ Spain appearances, closes in on men’s world record

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If it wasn’t clear already: Sergio Ramos will go down in history.

On Sunday, with a start against the Faroe Islands in Spain’s EURO 2020 qualifying match, the defender equalled Iker Casillas’ record of 167 international caps for La Roja. 

The 33-year-old defender is nine appearances short of tying Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s European record of 176 and 18 out of breaking the men’s world record of 184 set by Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan.

The Real Madrid captain began his international career in 2005 in a friendly against China, and can become Spain’s most-capped player if he plays against either Sweden or Norway next month.

Throughout his 14-year spell with the national, Spain’s captain has won the 2010 World Cup, EURO 2008 and EURO 2012.

Sergio Ramos announces he will stay at Real Madrid

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In an impromptu press conference held at the Real Madrid offices, Sergio Ramos announced he will finish his career at Real Madrid. Rumors were abound that the Madrid captain would depart this summer amid heavy interest from the Chinese Super League, but a meeting with club president Florentino Perez hashed out his future.

“I want to to end the doubts and debates that do not benefit the club or me or anyone else,” Ramos said to open his press conference. “I am Madridista. I want to retire here.”

The 33-year-old has made just over 600 appearances for Real Madrid since joining from Sevilla as a 19-year-old back in 2005. He was installed as one of four club captains in 2010 and made permanent captain in 2015 after the departure of Iker Casillas. He confirmed that an offer from China came in and forced him to consider his future.

“It is true that I have an offer from China on the table, I will not lie about it,” Ramos said during the press conference, before looking to play down the significance of the money offered. “The wage does not matter to me. I would play for Real Madrid for free.”

“I told Perez of the offer from China, and [manager Zinedine] Zidane too. That does not mean I asked to leave for free.”

Ramos signed a six-year contract back in 2015 when he was made captain, meaning he is technically under club control through the summer of 2021. He looked to put to bed any rumors of a rift with Perez, saying, “I have never had an issue with the president. Our relationship is like a father and son.”

Reports from Spanish publication AS over the past 24 hours stated that Ramos met with Perez one-on-one on Wednesday and decided that the captain would stay. It was the second time the two had met in the last week, but first time they had been without any representatives in the room. It was reported that Perez was angry with Ramos for looking to leave before the expiry of his current contract. “There were things that caused me certain doubts and things that hurt me,” Ramos said during the press conference. “But when you speak face to face to resolve this it’s the best thing.”

Finally, Ramos said that if he does leave Real Madrid one day, it would be for a club that could not come up against Los Blancos on the pitch. “I told the president that I would never go to a team that could compete with Real Madrid,” Ramos said. “If one day I go then it is because I think my body will not allow me to give a high level and I would go to a team that did not compete with Madrid.”

Perez: Sergio Ramos requested free transfer to China

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Florentino Perez has revealed that Sergio Ramos asked to leave Real Madrid on a free transfer due to a generous off in the Chinese Super League.

Perez shot the idea down in a pretty obvious move, as the 33-year-old captain would still garner a pretty glorious transfer fee even at his advanced age.

[ MORE: Spanish police investigate La Liga match fixing ]

Ramos allegedly told Perez that the CSL team was unable to offer a transfer fee due to league constraints.

“What was I going to tell him? We said this couldn’t happen but we’d speak to the club to satisfy him but that Real Madrid could not afford to let its captain leave for free as that would set a terrible precedent for other players,” Perez said, via Sky Sports.

The dominant but ever-controversial defender has been with Real since 2005, when he arrived from Sevilla. Reports say he wants a clean break from Real due to backlash from his suspension for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Final versus Ajax.

That, by the way, could easily be placed on Real’s poor depth at center back.

Ramos remains the captain of the Spanish national team, his 163 caps four shy of Iker Casillas’ record.

Transfermarkt pegs Ramos’ value at around $37 million. Would Perez be willing to accept something in that neighborhood for his captain, or would he reach for much more?

And, given Perez’s sensational nature, could he just be exaggerating the issue or creating it out of whole cloth?

Report: Sergio Ramos contemplating exit from Real Madrid

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According to a report by ESPN FC’s Paola Nunez, captain Sergio Ramos is exploring his options this summer and could be looking to move away from Real Madrid after 14 years with the club.

The report states that the club is planning to make every effort to keep hold of the defender, who has become a club icon during his long stay in Madrid. However, at 33 years old and coming off a down year for the club, it could be time to move on from Ramos and transition to a younger defensive unit.

During a year which saw Real Madrid finish without a single trophy, Ramos was once again a fixture at the back, making 28 league appearances and 42 appearances across all competitions. Since joining from Sevilla in 2005 as a 19-year-old, Ramos has made over 600 career appearances for Los Blancos.

Still, he is only under contract through the 2021 season, meaning should he leave, now would be the time to capitalize on his value and not let him either run his contract down or decline further.

Madrid showed defensive frailties this season, conceding 46 La Liga goals over the course of the campaign, the most of any of the clubs that finished in the top five. Raphael Varane’s sky-high value following the World Cup took a hit as well, and the club could look to introduce the likes of 22-year-old Jesus Vallejo, although his trial period with the senior team towards the end of the year did not go well. 29-year-old Nacho also saw 1,700 league minutes this season and could slide in effectively.

Spanish media outlet Marca, among others, have since reported that Manchester United and PSG have inquired about his availability. Ramos, already vilified by Liverpool for his clash with Mohamed Salah during last year’s Champions League final, would fit in well with Manchester United’s narrative as the hated giants of the Premier League, but his age would raise questions among Red Devil supporters as to the direction of the club after missing out on a Champions League spot this season.

Lastly, this could potentially be a ploy by Ramos’s camp to earn him one final contract before he retires, with the threat of departure alongside an otherwise thin Real Madrid defensive unit enough to convince them to re-sign him for one final payday. However, the ESPN report did say the source was “within the club” so Madrid very well may be facing the end of an era.

Ramos interviews himself to discuss Madrid crisis

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MADRID (AP) With Real Madrid still recovering from one of the worst weeks in club history, team captain Sergio Ramos felt some issues needed to be addressed publicly.

So he did it himself.

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In a self-interview posted on Instagram, Ramos talked about the “disastrous” recent events that ended Madrid’s hopes of winning another title this season. The Spanish team collapsed in a week in which it twice lost to Barcelona and once to Ajax, being eliminated from the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, and seeing its Spanish league title chances all but end.

“As footballers we like to do our talking on the pitch but this season is not turning out that way,” Ramos wrote on Monday in English. “I’m not hiding. We are not hiding. We the players are primarily responsible and I, as captain, more than anyone. That’s why I thought that the most honest way to answer the questions that are circulating around us would be to tackle them directly.”

[ MORE: Zidane to return as Real boss?

He said forcing a yellow card in the first leg against Ajax – so he could be available for later phases of the competition – was “an error and I take the blame 200 percent.”

He downplayed a supposed heated discussion with president Florentino Perez following the 4-1 loss to the Dutch club at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, saying “dressing room issues are discussed and resolved in the dressing room. There’s no problem whatsoever and everybody has the same interest: Real Madrid.”

He also addressed criticism for allowing a film crew to shoot a documentary about him during the Ajax match at the Bernabeu.

“There are certain commitments made and it never remotely went through my head that the game could have turned out as it did,” he said. “The recording itself was scaled down as the game went on.”

Ramos also dismissed having a problem with left back Marcelo after reports surfaced about a discussion between the veteran players during a recent practice session.

“We have exchanges in every training session,” he said. “It’s part of working with pressure. But it’s just an anecdote like so many others that happen from day to day. (Marcelo) is like a brother to me.”

Ramos could not play in Madrid’s 4-1 win at Valladolid on Sunday because of a suspension, but made the trip with the squad because he “wanted to be close and support my teammates.”

He said he didn’t criticize the rest of the squad after the consecutive home losses that practically ended the team’s season.

“We always talk and motivate each other in the dressing room and always in a constructive way,” he said.

Ramos also commented about Madrid’s coaching situation, with Santiago Solari on the brink of being fired.

“It’s a decision that’s not ours to make and in which we never interfere,” Ramos said. “We have enormous respect for the position and we always support the Real Madrid coach.”

Ramos closed his post by saying “these reflections are, without doubt, the result of a deeply disappointing season but if success didn’t stop us, we’re not going to let defeat stop us. It’s our obligation to carry on, to work and to evolve.”

“And to remember that some of us are lucky enough to play for (at)realmadrid, some of us are lucky enough to form part of its history, but (hash)RealMadrid was, is and will always be (hash)RealMadrid. No one name makes the legend of Real Madrid, but we have all written that legend together. Together we have to work for the future and restore our hope.”

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