?Sergio Ramos is truly one of Real Madrid’s greatest ever players. He has led his side to three consecutive Champions League wins. His brilliant defending, leadership skills and ability to score decisive goals over the years have made him a legend at the Bernabéu.
Despite all this, Ramos now finds himself at a crossroads. The 2018/19 season was a disastrous one for both him and the club. Real ended the season trophyless and finished it having had three different managers – Julen Lopetegui, Santi Solari and Zinedine Zidane.
?Ramos suffered injury problems throughout the season and infamously deliberately got himself booked in the first leg of Real’s round of 16 Champions League tie against Ajax, picking up a suspension for the second leg that would allow him to avoid being suspended in the quarter-finals. This decision back-fired horribly as Real struggled to cope with Ajax’s vibrant, attacking young side in the second leg, being destroyed 4-1 in front of their own supporters, as they crashed out of the ?Champions League. Following this game, Ramos reportedly had arguments with his team-mates and senior club officials in the dressing room.
Now there are ?reports suggesting that he is questioning his future at the club. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the teams that he’s been linked with and the likelihood of him joining each of them.
There have been reports in the Madrid media that ?Liverpool are one of several sides that are interested in signing Ramos.
This seems to be extremely unlikely considering Liverpool had the best defence in the ?Premier League last season and that manager Jürgen Klopp has shown a preference for signing players in their mid 20s, rather than someone like Ramos who, at 33, may have his best days behind him.
Then there is also the fact that Ramos became public enemy number one amongst Liverpool supporters after being involved in the incident that forced ?Mohamed Salah to be substituted in last year’s Champions League final.
While a Virgil van Dijk-Ramos defensive partnership would surely be the most feared in the world, it would be unlikely to be welcomed by Liverpool supporters.
Likelihood rating: 1/10
Manchester United have just endured their worst defensive season in their Premier League history, conceding 54 goals.
Defensive reinforcements must be a priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ramos would provide leadership and quality at the heart of United’s backline which they currently simply do not possess.
He is being linked to United now, just as he was in 2015 when Louis van Gaal was at the helm at Old Trafford. On that occasion Ramos ended up signing a new contract at Real with United suspecting that they were being used by the Spaniard’s representatives as leverage to force Los Blancos to pay him higher wages.
However, Ramos’ relationship with Real seems to be extremely disjointed and he may relish the challenge of fixing United’s porous defence.
Manchester United have had their fingers burnt when it comes to big-name players in recent years with the likes of Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Alexis Sanchez all failing to live up to expectations.
They have also wasted a lot of money in wages on those players and Ramos would likely demand to be one of United’s highest earners should he arrive at Old Trafford. These experiences may dissuade them from making a move for Ramos.
Likelihood rating: 4/10
PSG have also been linked with Ramos and the Spaniard would provide them with leadership and Champions League know-how that is sorely lacking in their squad.
After being taken over by the State of Qatar in 2011, PSG have received heavy investment, spending large sums of money on players and managers in their quest to dominate European football. They have successfully dominated French football in recent years but have repeatedly suffered disappointment in Europe, failing to get past the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.
On a couple of occasions they seemed to have buckled under the pressure in this tournament, in 2016 they infamously threw away a 4-0 first leg lead in the round of 16 against Barcelona to lose 6-1 in the return leg. This season at the same stage they held a 2-0 first leg lead against Manchester United but proceeded to lose the second leg 3-1 at home to a makeshift United side.
In both ties they made several fundamental defensive errors and signing a defender with the quality of Ramos could help prevent this in the future. Ramos has captained Real to three consecutive Champions League triumphs and has also won another previously. His experience in this competition will help this current PSG squad who seem to struggle to cope in the high-stakes matches.
However, they already have a central defender in their squad who is of a similar age in Thiago Silva and they may decide to place their trust in the promising young defenders they currently have – Thilo Kehrer, Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos.
Likelihood rating: 5/10
Chinese Super League
The Chinese Super League has become a popular destination for many European players once they enter the twilight of their careers.
The likes of Moussa Dembélé, Marek Hamšík, Javier Mascherano and Paulinho have all made the move to the league in recent years.
Whilst this move isn’t likely to be fulfilling for Ramos from a football perspective, financially he would benefit greatly. Some Chinese Super League clubs have the capacity to pay wages that even many of the top European sides cannot match and Ramos would surely be paid handsomely if he was to make the move to the Far East.
He would boost his financial security and also experience a part of the world where he has rarely played.
Furthermore, knowing that he would not be likely to play against Los Blancos on a regular basis would be a relief for a man who has been so loyal to the club over the years.
Likelihood rating: 6/10
?Juventus are also reportedly interesting in signing Ramos. The ?Serie A champions have a proven history of signing aging players and providing them a platform to prolong their careers, with Andrea Pirlo being the most notable example. Pirlo played some of the best football of his career at Juventus after he was released by Milan, who considered they considered to be past his prime.
Joining Juventus would also allow Ramos to be reunited with long time team-mate and friend ?Cristiano Ronaldo. Having a close friend at the club would allow Ramos to integrate quickly into the Juventus dress room and make it easier for him to flourish on the pitch.
Much like PSG, domestic dominance is no longer considered good enough by Juventus, who have announced that manager Massimiliano Allegri will be leaving at the end of the season. The Champions League has become somewhat of an obsession for them and Ramos’ experience of winning this competition could help them secure their first European Cup triumph in over two decades
There is also the fact that slower pace of Serie A will suit Ramos as he gets older and make it less strenuous on his body.
However, I Biaconeri already have two of the best central defenders in world football at the heart of their defence with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. The aforementioned pair are 34 are 32 respectively and signing another centre-back of a similar age is somewhat questionable but not beyond possibility.
Likelihood rating: 7/10