By Tim Stannard
Sergio Ramos weighs up options for next step after failing to agree terms for a new deal with Real Madrid
First off, the manager went due to Coach Zizou falling out with Florentino Perez over a perceived lack of support from the Real Madrid president. Now it's the longstanding club captain who is out the Santiago Bernabeu door this summer.
After 16 years at Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos has been put through the same wringer of rejection as many other of the recent greats of the team, who show little sentimentality to their stars. Iker Casillas, Raul and Guti were pretty much part of the furniture of the club but were all unceremoniously plonked out on the end of the club driveway for someone to pick up.
It's the turn of Sergio Ramos after 16 seasons at Real Madrid, who waved farewell at a hastily-arranged ceremony at the club's training ground. A tearful Ramos said that it was "more than 'until forever', it's a 'see you later' as I will be back," promised the defender who played 671 games for Real Madrid.
Ostensibly the departure is down to money. Real Madrid has a no exceptions policy on golden oldies. Sergio Ramos has a no exceptions policy on himself. The club only sign one-year contract extensions for players over thirty - Ramos is 35 - but the Real Madrid defender wanted two years and no salary cut, which was also in the deal on the table. The two demands were incompatible. Ramos bows out.
On paper, Real Madrid will probably do just fine, romantic notions aside. Ramos played a peripheral figure last season due to injuries and wasn't fit enough for Spain's Euro 2020 squad. Besides, David Alaba has arrived from Bayern Munich for free, a serial winner who can pretty much play on every position in the backline.
As for Ramos? It's an expensive salary punt for a player who cannot play a full season, despite being able to go anywhere for free. However, the footballer will tick the Cristiano Ronaldo box for topless working-out, social media photos for those clicks and likes.
Top of the list of destinations is Manchester City, a club that is down a defender due to Eric Garcia leaving and may want someone with experience of winning the Champions League in the side. Manchester United is another option, a club he flirted with a few years back. Then there's PSG of course, who are set to announce the five-year free transfer deal for Gianluigi Donnarumma.
However, two of those teams are also involved with rumors of a certain Argentinean at Barcelona, which could leave Sergio Ramos second-guessing his future.
Depay deal to be done, no more news on Messi
Barcelona have been dripping bits of information pertaining to two other players also on free transfer deals. One is set to come in, one could still be going out.
The one coming in is Memphis Depay. The Lyon forward who is currently on duty with the Netherlands at Euro 2020 revealed that the move to Barcelona was getting closer. His compatriot, Ronald Koeman, agreed by declaring that "it’s not signed yet, but it’s almost there."
Koeman then has to work out how to play Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, and Pedri in the same forward line. And Joan Laporta needs to work out how to pay for it.
However, the Barcelona president is still busy trying to renew Messi's deal which expires at the end of the month. And it's a bit of a mixed message from Laporta who claimed that "it's not signed yet, but it’s almost there" while "the renewal isn’t at an advanced stage. We’re doing what we can but there’s no need to seduce him."
The mind boggles.