Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has announced he intends to stay with the club next season, despite receiving an offer from China.
The 33-year-old centre-back’s future has come into question in recent weeks, with reports suggesting he might be on his way out of the club where he has spent the last 14 seasons.
And it was those reports which prompted Ramos into action, with the defender calling a press conference on Thursday to announce his desire to remain in the Spanish capital.
“I am Madridista. I want to retire here,” Ramos told reporters. “I don’t want the fans to be left in any doubt.
“There has been too much speculation about my future and I wanted to reiterate my commitment to the club.”
When asked about his bond with club president Florentino Perez, he added: “My relationship with the president is similar to that of a father and son.”
The announcement comes amid talk of a lucrative summer move to China, and while Ramos admitted he has received an offer from the far East, he was quick to address his situation.
“There is an offer from China,” he confirmed, “and If I didn’t feel wanted (at Real Madrid) then it’s an alternative.
“But at present my deal is with Real Madrid and my plan is to see out my contract.
“The Ajax game created a great deal of tension that’s true and it was a time for us to reset things.
“It’s important that I feel wanted here at the club – by the fans, team-mates and, of course, the president.”
After underlining his commitment to Real, Ramos said he wanted to speak publicly “so we can all enjoy the summer and ensure that my name is not in the headlines.
“I get annoyed to see stories circulating that are not true and that was the motivation for calling the press conference.
“It’s wrong that people feel when these situations arise with me and the club that it’s to do with money.”
Earlier this week, Perez said the Spanish international would not be leaving the Bernabeu on a free transfer in the wake of a prospective a move to the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Ramos addressed those comments by saying: “I held a private meeting with the president, where I informed him of the offer from China.
“This was a private conversation that has been leaked, and the result is the specualtion we’ve seen over the past few days. Once again, this was my motivation in holding this press conference.”
The defender conceded he might be subject of boos by the Madrid faithful, but acknowledged it can happen to anyone.
“The fans whistle as they want a reaction from the players,” Ramos said. “I’ve had it . Even Cristiano was whistled. Sometimes things don’t work out as we hope in the game of football.”
He did not, however, rule out the prospect of leaving Spain at some point over the next few seasons but did say he would not ever want to face Madrid as an opponent.
“My intention is to construct a new Real Madrid with the president and start to look to the future.
“I still have the physical strength to play for the club. How long will this last? I don’t know … two, four, six years.
“When the time comes to move on I’ll do so but in a place where I never have to face Real Madrid.”
Despite the current offer from China, Madrid is not entirely certain he would play there, elsewhere, or just hang it up when his Madrid days are over.
“I’m not sure if I’d consider China as a future destination.
“I’ve always felt a warm welcome there, but I really don’t know if two or four years from now I’ll go to China, the United States or if I’ll stay as a coach.”