Sergio Ramos has been publicly waging war with Real Madrid in an attempt to nearly double his wage through what he believes to be a well-deserved contract. The latest rumours by Marca suggest that the Seville-born defender has asked Florentino Pérez to listen to offers from other clubs.
Currently, six players are said to be earning more than the man who scored the famous ‘92:48 goal’ which handed Madrid the illustrious La Decima: Toni Kroos, James Rodríguez, Karim Benzema, Iker Casillas, Gareth Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While a comparison in terms of wages against Bale and Ronaldo is out of the question, Ramos believes that Madrid chief Perez must fulfill his supposed promise of a deserved bumper contract for the Madrid vice-captain after last year’s Lisbon outing.
With only two contract renewals in ten years – the last one in 2011 –, Ramos has earned himself improved terms as a result of his on-pitch heroics throughout Ancelotti’s tenure in Madrid.
The defender not only led Madrid past Bayern Munich in the semi-finals and then past Atlético de Madrid in the final of the Champions League, but he also played an integral role in Ancelotti’s last trophy for the club – the Club World Cup. Against San Lorenzo in the Stade de Marrakech, Ramos opened the scoring and was subsequently voted Man of the Match as Madrid lifted the trophy crowing them world champions.
There had even been rumours of Ramos working his way towards a FIFA Ballon d'Or.
Ever since Casillas’ decline, Ramos has stepped up as Madrid’s leader on and off the pitch. What more must the man do to earn himself a better contract?
Pérez meanwhile does not want to cave in to Ramos’ demands. While considering him an integral player for his sporting project, Perez is nonetheless wary of his vice-captain’s power within the dressing room. The Madrid chief likes to be the one in control, and is rumoured to have been displeased with his player’s public support for former coach Ancelotti.
Unlike Ronaldo, James and Bale, Ramos lacks the marketability that Pérez often seeks for in players. Still, should Ramos exit the club, his relationship with teammates, in particular Ronaldo, may lead to further uproar which Pérez may want to avoid.
Ramos, now 29 and nearing the final stages of his career, may be asking for too much. He is indeed a leader on the pitch, but has two quality contenders for his position and has been known to be inconsistent.
Ramos once publicly announced on Twitter that "money has never guided him". Now, with possibly his last contract renewal at Madrid, the defender must keep true to his words.
Florentino will want to avoid setting a dangerous precedent where an influential player can bully his way to a better contract. Yet, the Madrid chief must recognize all that the Seville-native has achieved. Ramos’ first-choice is to stay at the Bernabeu, and Pérez must fight to keep him there.
In the end, both parties must meet halfway.