GUANGZHOU (China) • Real Madrid, under new manager Rafael Benitez, are looking solid in all departments and do not want to upset the equation by letting their captain Sergio Ramos leave for Manchester United.
James Rodriguez hammered home the Spanish football club's strength in depth with a 30-metre screamer in the 88th minute for the third goal yesterday as they thumped Inter Milan 3-0 in an International Champions Cup friendly in Guangzhou. That convincing win followed a 4-1 defeat of Manchester City last weekend.
Ramos' bid to leave for United was nipped on Sunday night when Real president Florentino Perez told the defender that he would not be sold under any circumstances, reported The Guardian.
During a long meeting in Guangzhou, attended by Perez, Ramos, Real's chief executive Jose Angel Sanchez and the player's brother and agent Rene, Ramos reiterated his desire to join United.
The latter have made two formal bids for him.
But Perez refused to countenance a sale. With two years left on his current contract, Ramos' ability to force Real's hand is limited.
Although there are still five weeks of the transfer window remaining, the belief in most quarters is that the defender's move is now impossible.
United's position is that they will not sell goalkeeper David de Gea unless they are allowed to sign Ramos. As it stands, the goalkeeper would be forced to stay at Old Trafford. Whether United will continue to stick to that stance, following the news from China and having confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Sergio Romero from Sampdoria, remains to be seen.
Perez sought to rebuild bridges, aware that his relationship with Ramos has become difficult, but more significant was his refusal to budge. He insisted that any attempt from the player to publicly declare his desire to leave would not make a departure more likely.
It would rather just make the player's relationship with the supporters difficult.
Ramos had previously told Real of his intention to leave at a meeting with Sanchez on June 24 and a tense telephone conversation with Pérez followed.
At that point, Real set a fee that was prohibitively high. The club's position then hardened over the last fortnight, especially after Perez came under huge criticism for the way in which former captain Iker Casillas' departure was handled.
Allowing one captain to go was damaging enough; allowing the second one to do so would have been even more risky.
That day, Perez said he had allowed Casillas to leave because that had been the player's desire.
Asked if that applied to other footballers like Ramos, he replied: "There are some players with contracts who want to go who will not be allowed to."
That remained his position in China. THE GUARDIAN