Ramos ends United spec­u­la­tion

. . . as PSG un­veil Di Maria

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

MADRID-REAL Madrid cap­tain Ser­gio Ramos has ended spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing his fu­ture by sign­ing a new five-year deal with the Span­ish gi­ants, the club con­firmed on Monday. Ramos had been courted by Manch­ester United dur­ing a stand­off in ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween his rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Madrid pres­i­dent Florentino Perez over the Span­ish in­ter­na­tional’s salary with his previous deal set to ex­pire in 2017.

How­ever, the club said in a state­ment he will re­main “tied to the club for the next five sea­sons.”

Ac­cord­ing to Span­ish me­dia re­ports, Ramos will earn up to 10 mil­lion euros a sea­son.

United and Madrid have been locked in trans­fer talks all sum­mer with Real still hope­ful of land­ing Ramos’s in­ter­na­tional team­mate David de Gea be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes at the end of the month.

Ramos is now Madrid’s long­est serv­ing player hav­ing signed from Sevilla 10 years ago as a 19-year-old and will be club cap­tain for the first time this sea­son af­ter Iker Casil­las’s 18-year ca­reer at the Bern­abeu came to an end when he joined Porto last month.

De­spite hold­ing an un­wanted record as the Madrid player to have seen most red cards in the his­tory of the club with a stag­ger­ing 19 dis­missals, Ramos is a hero amongst the Real sup­port and is most fondly re­mem­bered for scor­ing the goal that saved Los Blan­cos from los­ing the 2014 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal to lo­cal ri­vals Atletico Madrid.

His stop­page time header forced the game into ex­tra-time where the white half of Madrid went onto dom­i­nate and run out 4-1 win­ners to com­plete his own per­sonal reper­toire of hon­ours, which also in­cludes three La Liga ti­tles and two Copa del Reys as well as the World Cup and two Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships at in­ter­na­tional level with Spain.

By com­mit­ting to stay at the Bern­abeu, Ramos has of­fered a huge lift to a Real side in need of a con­fi­dence boost ahead of the kick­off to the La Liga cam­paign next week­end.

Ramos was among a host of high-pro­file first-team play­ers also in­clud­ing Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and James Ro­driguez who showed their dis­con­tent at the sack­ing of Carlo Ancelotti in May.

The ap­point­ment of Rafael Ben­itez as Ancelotti’s suc­ces­sor was met with scep­ti­cism by the vast ma­jor­ity of the club’s fans and Perez has un­usu­ally de­cided against the lav­ish sign­ing of a “galac­tico” this sum­mer, in­stead set­tling for a deeper and younger squad.

How­ever, with­out the in­jured Ron­aldo, Ben­itez’s men have strug­gled in pre-sea­son, fail­ing to score in four of their seven friendlies so far.

Madrid be­gin their league cam­paign away to newly pro­moted Sport­ing Gi­jon on Au­gust 23.

Mean­while, former Real Madrid and Manch­ester United winger An­gel Di Maria was pre­sented to the Paris Saint-ger­main crowd on Sun­day fol­low­ing his £46mil­lion move from the Red Devils.

The Ar­gen­tine winger came on to the pitch at the Parc des Princes be­fore the Ligue 1 cham­pi­ons’ match against Ajac­cio.

Di Maria was well-re­ceived be­fore kick-off, ap­plaud­ing the fans and show­ing his trade­mark heart cel­e­bra­tion to the crowd.

How­ever, as An­gel di Maria’s move to Paris Saint Ger­main was con­firmed, the mood amongst United sup­port­ers was far from the heart­break you may ex­pect when a club sells its record sign­ing. In fact, there was an air of re­lief in the red half of Manch­ester as a saga that United will want to for­get about quickly came to a close.

When talk first ap­peared sev­eral months ago about Di Maria pos­si­bly head­ing to­wards the exit door, most wrote it off quickly as a pa­per-seller from re­porters and it seemed that the Ar­gen­tine would con­tinue at Old Traf­ford af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing first sea­son.

Hav­ing re­it­er­ated sev­eral times since then that he wanted to stay at the club and make his ca­reer in Eng­land a suc­cess, it’s easy to see why no one en­vis­aged him play­ing in Ligue 1 this sea­son. He sounded like a United player; re­silient, de­ter­mined and hun­gry for the ever-grow­ing chal­lenge.

But Di Maria has none of these qual­i­ties and had about as much fire in his belly as a limp noo­dle.

That’s why as his exit to France be­came more and more in­evitable in re­cent weeks, it was met with anger to­wards the player and dis­ap­point­ment amongst the fans. He, un­for­tu­nately, could walk the walk but couldn’t talk the talk.

A man who re­as­sured so many that he was to stay has soon af­ter re­fused to join up for the pre-sea­son tour, jet­ted off to PSG and took the easy way out.

He has moved from a huge, glob­ally adored club with fiercely loyal fans to a French team which is only four years older than Ryan Giggs and has only be­come em­i­nent in re­cent years due to huge Qatari fund­ing – it’s as com­i­cal as it is baf­fling.

He’s gone from be­ing the pos­si­ble cen­tre piece of an am­bi­tious team to a weak league which is walked ev­ery year by one team. It’s not quite the player who as­sured ev­ery­one he rel­ished a tough chal­lenge. It’s at least one step down in qual­ity and sev­eral in sta­tus.

Louis can Gaal re­vealed he “did not know” where Di Maria was af­ter he did not catch his plane to USA to take part in the team’s tour. What a com­plete farce. It does seem to be an in­sight into the ridicu­lous world of a foot­baller — a fig­ure who re­fuses to work for the in­sti­tu­tion that pays his as­tro­nom­i­cal wages, pub­licly sup­ports him and, at the end of the day, own his foot­balling rights. — AFP

Flash­back...an­gel di Maria, ser­gio Ramos and Pepe in Real colours

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