Hazard vows to find best Real Madrid form

Eden Hazard has dismissed the idea that he cannot become the dominant force for Real Madrid that he has been for his country.

Hazard, part of the Belgium squad at Euro 2020, has been dogged by injury during his first two seasons in Madrid and is currently returning to full fitness following a muscle strain.

“I broke my ankle three times, it will never be the same as 10 years ago,” Eden Hazard said.

“But I know that when I am in shape, I can prove myself on the field and that’s what I’m working on now.

“I try to be a leader on the pitch regardless of who I’m playing for but you can only become a leader if you’re playing well and I play a lot more with the national team.

“I think if I have playing time with Real Madrid I can also become a leader there.”

The 30-year-old former Chelsea playmaker has stepped off the bench in both Belgium’s games in the tournament so far and is hoping for a longer run out in their final Group B match against Finland in St Petersburg on Monday.

“I don’t think I’m yet at 100 per cent,” Hazard added. “I think I’m ready to start a game, but it’s always been in the pipeline from the beginning of the tournament, it was always to have this incremental approach.

“I’m going to play a little bit more each time until I hit that 100 per cent mark. We’ll see how long I can play for tomorrow.

“That was the plan, to bring me along gradually and to make sure I am completely fit in the knockout phase.”

The Red Devils have already qualified for the round of 16 after beating Russia 3-0 and Denmark 2-1 in their first two group matches.

Where will Ramos go?

With the Spain star having brought down the curtain on his time at Santiago Bernabeu, Olybet website breaks down the clubs he could join this summer

After 16 years, Sergio Ramos’ time as a Real Madrid player is over, with the defender having bid a tearful farewell to life at Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday.

A four-time Champions League winner with the Blancos, Ramos’ status as a legend of the club cannot be questioned, and he leaves as one of the greatest defenders of the modern era.

His career, though, is not over, and as one of the most competitive players of the past decade or so, surely Ramos wants to continue playing at the highest level possible.

Manchester United

By Charlotte Duncker, Man Utd Correspondent

Of all the potential destinations for Ramos this summer, Manchester United will likely be near the top of those mentioned most frequently.

The centre-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford countless times before, and he very nearly joined the Red Devils when Louis van Gaal was in charge.

But a move for him this time around, even if he is a free agent, remains very unlikely.

United are looking to sign a centre-back in this window, but Ramos’ team-mate Raphael Varane and compatriot Pau Torres are their favoured options, rather than a 35-year-old who would cost a huge amount in wages.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to build a squad to compete both now and in the future, while Ramos would merely be a stop-gap option, with only a couple of years left before he retires.

Although nothing is impossible, and many would not have predicted veteran striker Edinson Cavani ending up at Old Trafford this time last year, Ramos to United remains very unlikely given Solskjaer’s long-term plan.

MLS

By Ryan Tolmich, Assistant Editor/MLS Reporter

While the idea of Ramos in MLS is a fun one from both an on and off-field perspective, it would certainly be a tricky one to pull off.

Firstly, there are only so many teams that could truly attract Ramos, with the most likely landing spots being in Los Angeles, New York or Miami. Of those, Miami has been seen as the most likely, but the club is already in hot water with the league for the mismanagement of their current Designated Player situation.

Secondly, there are not many teams that are willing to spend big money and use a DP slot on a defender, even one with Ramos’ quality and star power.

He could, theoretically, end up with New York City FC as part of a deal with Manchester City, but the club has shied away from those types of signings in recent years, with the focus more on young stars like recent arrival Talles Magno.

He also could end up with LAFC, but they are not a club that has shown any desire to sign aging stars.

So, as things stand, file Ramos-to-MLS as one to be skeptical about.

Paris Saint-Germain

By Naim Beneddra, Goal France

The signing of Ramos by PSG has not been ruled out, and there are several reasons why such a move would make sense.

The first is that he remains a world-class player, and his signing would allow Parc des Princes outfit to yet again make clear its lofty ambitions.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi has made it clear that he wants to hit the transfer market hard this summer, and though centre-back may not be where PSG were initially prioritising, when an opportunity like this presents itself, it would be a mistake not to take advantage of it.

The other reason that a potential signing seems credible is that Ramos is a dressing room leader, and PSG currently lack players with that same authority. The fact that Ramos speaks the same language as manager Mauricio Pochettino means that he could even be the coach’s biggest ally on the pitch.

In addition, the arrival of Ramos could allow Pochettino to play a three-man defence, a tactical system which he has previously enjoyed some success with.

If Achraf Hakimi were to also arrive this summer and Juan Bernat regains his place on the left after injury, a three-man defence of Ramos, Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos certainly has potential.

The only issue that could stop Ramos arriving in PSG could be the potential detrimental effect it could have on the rest of the squad, particularly if Pochettino retains his normal four-man backline.

Neither Ramos nor Kimpembe or Marquinhos would want to play second fiddle, and as such the Ligue 1 giants must weigh up all potential outcomes before making an offer.

Roma

By Renato Maisani, Goal Italy Chief Editor

For some weeks now, there have been reports circulating in Italy that new Roma boss Jose Mourinho has contacted Ramos to propose that he moves to Stadio Olimpico.

The pair have a relationship from Mourinho’s time in charge of Madrid, and though they at times clashed in the Spanish capital, they could still reconcile if they came together at Roma.

It is obviously a difficult deal to do, in part because Roma cannot offer Champions League football for next season, but it seems that Mourinho has at least tried to tempt Ramos.

Sevilla

By Francisco Rico, Goal Spain reporter

Having come through the Sevilla academy, there had been some speculation that Ramos could return to his boyhood club, 16 years after he left Andalusia.

However, even before those rumours could pick up steam, the veteran defender poured cold water on them during his farewell press conference.

“Sevilla is the other club in my heart where I had a great time,” he said, “but at the moment there is nothing on the table about going back.”

Tearful Ramos ‘surprised’ Real withdrew offer as he bids farewell

Sergio Ramos burst into tears as he said farewell to Real Madrid on Thursday after 16 years but left with a parting shot, saying he was surprised that the club decided to withdraw a one-year contract offer to him by claiming it had expired.

Ramos, who made 671 appearances for Real and scored 101 goals including netting in two Champions League finals, ran down his contract with the 13-time European champions and was unable to agree a new deal with the club.

“The first thing I want to say is that I never wanted to leave. I wanted to stay here,” Ramos said in a press conference.

The Spaniard said he was offered a one-year contract on a 10 per cent reduction to his previous salary but was holding out for a two-year deal “so my family could have continuity and tranquillity”, only to find out the previous offer had been withdrawn.

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Wednesday May 5, 2021.
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Ramos joined Real Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 and made 671 appearances for the club

“I said ‘okay’ but they told me the offer that was on the table had expired. I respect their decision but it was a surprise,” he said.

“I didn’t realise the offer had an expiry date. There will be many opinions about me but I’d prefer people to know the full story first and the president and club know it wasn’t about money, they offered me one year and I wanted two.”

Ramos, 35, acknowledged “there were some calls” when he entered the final six months of his contract in January but stressed “leaving Real Madrid was never on my mind”.

But he added: “Life goes on, an era has finished and a new one is starting. Now is not the moment to talk about other clubs but we’ll find the right one for me.”

A venture abroad to either Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 or the Premier League look like his most likely destinations due to his high salary, and he dismissed suggestions he could return to boyhood club Sevilla.

“Sevilla is another club close to my heart and I had a marvellous time there but today I’m not contemplating that option and neither are they,” he said.

He also laughed off a question on whether he could join Real’s eternal rivals Barcelona, saying “it’s a resounding no”.

Club president Florentino Perez, who brought Ramos to Real from Sevilla in 2005 for 27 million euros, a then-record fee for a Spanish defender, thanked the player for “making Real Madrid’s legend even greater and ensuring it is the most admired club in the world”.

“It’s not an easy day because you’ve been really special to me and you and I have lived and suffered through historic moments for Real Madrid,” Perez added.

“I wish you all the best and want you to know this will always be your home, a legend like you will always be one of this club’s great ambassadors.”

Ramos joined Real from Sevilla in 2005 and has won five league titles, two Copa del Reys, four Champions Leagues and four Club World Cups.

It was during his time in the Spanish capital that he also won the 2010 World Cup with Spain along with back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Sergio Ramos is available for Real Madrid ahead of their clash with Chelsea
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Ramos won five league titles, two Copa del Reys, four Champions Leagues and four Club World Cups with Real Madrid

However, injuries have taken their toll in the most recent campaign as he played just 21 times as Real lost out in the title race to city rivals Atletico while also going out at the semi-final stage of the Champions League.

The 35-year-old struggled with muscle injures and a knee problem that required surgery, meaning he only played once since March – the 2-0 Champions League semi-final second-leg defeat to Chelsea on May 5.

It also meant Ramos missed out on Spain’s squad for Euro 2020 as manager Luis Enrique opted to select no Real players in his squad.

Spanish press reports have continually questioned Ramos’ long-term future at the Bernabeu with the club hierarchy keen on making wholesale changes to the playing squad this summer.

Ramos will be a free agent and a host of top clubs are already reported to be interested in signing him.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.

Ramos to leave Real Madrid this summer

Sergio Ramos will leave Real Madrid this summer, the club have confirmed.

A press conference will be held on Thursday to formally announce the Real captain’s departure after 16 years at the club.

A short statement on the club’s official website read: “Real Madrid CF announces that tomorrow, Thursday, June 17, at 12:30 pm, there will be an institutional act of tribute and farewell to our captain Sergio Ramos, with the presence of our president Florentino Perez.

“After that, Sergio Ramos will appear before the media at a telematic press conference.”

Ramos joined Real from Sevilla in 2005 and has made 671 appearances for La Liga club, winning five league titles, two Copa del Reys, four Champions Leagues and four Club World Cups.

It was during his time in the Spanish capital that he also won the 2010 World Cup with Spain along with back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

However, injuries have taken their toll in the most recent campaign as he played just 21 times as Real lost out in the title race to city rivals Atletico while also going out at the semi-final stage of the Champions League.

The 35-year-old struggled with muscle injures and a knee problem that required surgery, meaning he only played once since March – the 2-0 Champions League semi-final second-leg defeat to Chelsea on May 5.

It also meant Ramos missed out on Spain’s squad for Euro 2020 as manager Luis Enrique opted to select no Real players in his squad.

Spanish press reports have continually questioned Ramos’ long-term future at the Bernabeu with the club hierarchy keen on making wholesale changes to the playing squad this summer.

Ramos will be a free agent and a host of top clubs are already reported to be interested in signing him.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.

Juve, Barca, Real admitted to Champions League

Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been admitted to next season’s Champions League despite their involvement in the proposed breakaway European Super League project.

Admission letters have been sent to all Champions League participants, European soccer’s governing body UEFA has said.

Disciplinary proceedings against Juve, Barca and Real over their involvement in the proposed Super League have been suspended by UEFA’s independent appeals body.

UEFA opened a probe against the three clubs but last week it suspended proceedings after being notified by the Swiss authorities of a court order from the commercial court in Madrid obtained by the legal entity European Super League Company SL.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Final - Wembley Stadium
A fan in the stands holds up a banner protesting against the European Super League ahead of the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday April 25, 2021.
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English fans protested against the creation of a European Super League

“Admission letters have been sent to all clubs participating in next season’s UEFA club competitions today,” UEFA told Reuters on Tuesday.

The letters, which are sent out as standard before each season, do not have any bearing on the disciplinary process, which could be resumed at a later date.

Juve, Barca and Real are the last of the 12 clubs who signed up to the Super League in April not to have distanced themselves from the breakaway project which unravelled when all six English teams plus Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid withdrew.

Super League founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli said earlier this month the plan to create a breakaway league was not a coup but a way to save the football industry, which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Juve qualified for the Champions League on the final day of last season’s Serie A campaign and have since changed coaches, with Massimiliano Allegri back for a second spell.