A concerned Rafa Benítez is watching on from his Liverpool home at the events that unfolded a week ago when AS published the story that Sergio Ramos wants to leave Real Madrid owing to his problems with Florentino. The coach bases his teams around leadership, on players who are an extension of him out on the pitch and who know how to perfectly interpret his orders. He is left with no doubt who the man is to do that at Madrid: Sergio Ramos.
Although Iker Casillas is the first captain, the Seville-born defender, through his character and standing, has long been the strongest player in the dressing room (also, the future of Casillas is up in the air given the possible arrival of De Gea). Because of this, Benítez has been drawing up a project with Ramos as the leader of his team. He does not have a Plan B. And he let Ramos know in the first conversation he had with him in early June, a few days after arriving in Madrid. “The willingness they have shown me has all been excellent,” Benítez told the club’s official website.
But Ramos requesting to leave owing towards feeling aggrieved at the club undervaluing him (he is asking for €10 million per year with a new contract instead of the €6 million he is currently earning) and due to all the leaks from the Bernabéu that he believes has tarnished his image, has caught the coach off guard.
Despite being in Liverpool for the final days of his holiday, Benítez is still in constant contact with the club and the player to hear first-hand, without hearing it from the media, about Ramos’s case. To this point, he remains confident that both parties will end up coming to an understanding before the squad returns for pre-season training on July 10.
Position. At the moment, the centre-back and Florentino have taken a few days off from the conflict. The pair had a brief telephone conversation on Thursday, just before the player left for Los Angeles, and agreed to have another conversation on his return. But Ramos, who has a contract until 2017, still holds on to the idea of leaving. Madrid, who are refusing to meet his demands for €10 million per season, say they have not received any offers for him but, as AS has already reported, Manchester United have already bid €50 million. Before that first contact, Madrid set the player’s asking price at €90 million, a record for a defender. At no time have they said he is not for sale.
After the first setback, United made a second bid of €60 million and according to sources consulted by this newspaper, their next offer could be up to €70 million. United feel strong in this situation. They do not want to tie De Gea into any deal so if Madrid do not budge on Ramos, they will do the same with their goalkeeper. In addition, according to El Larguero, Ramos has another possible exit: Manchester City have made him their top target to bolster their defence.
But Benítez is not thinking about starting the season without having the centre-back. He experienced a similar situation in 2004 after he had just arrived in Liverpool and he sorted it out. Steven Gerrard, the captain, had one foot in Chelsea after they had offered €50 million. The coach went to see the player while he was on international duty with England and convinced him to continue at the club. At the end of that season Liverpool won the Champions League and Gerrard was his leader