After Florentino Pérez and Sergio Ramos each gave a speech to start off the centre-back’s Real Madrid farewell, Ramos later sat in the Valdebebas press room and answered questions from journalists about his exit after 16 years.
Firstly, the captain answered the big question. He explained why he hasn’t been renewed, stating: “Many things have happened. The first thing I’d like to make clear is that I never wanted to leave Real Madrid. That was always my mindset. We won the post-lockdown league and then the club offered me the chance to offer my contract. But, that was delayed because of situations like the pandemic. The club then offered me a one-year extension with a salary reduction. I want to make clear that money was never the problem. It was the years, because I wanted stability for my family. I wanted two years and they offered one. I repeat, the economic factor was never the reason. In the later recent conversations, I said I would accept [the one-year offer], but then I was told the offer wasn’t there anymore, that there had been an expiry date. I hadn’t realised.”
In later answers, Ramos added a few extra details on how the process developed. “That’s not a question I can answer,” he said when asked what explanation Real Madrid gave him for the expiry. “They never communicated to me that the offer had an expiry date. That really surprised me. I thought the offer, or proposal or chat, was on the table. Maybe I misunderstood it.”
Ramos also confirmed that he didn’t put pressure on Carlo Ancelotti to convince the club to re-sign him. On the Italian, Ramos said: “When Ancelotti returned, I called him to congratulate him. But, that’s all. There was no conversation about me.”
Pressed on some of the conversations he had with Florentino Pérez, Ramos didn’t give many specifics. He said: “There are some things very personal that I want to keep private. You have more questions than I do. There are some things that have been explained to me in private conversations. I have given a press conference, but the only ones here are myself, Emilio Butragueño and our press officer.”
Asked about his relationship with the president, Ramos stayed positive, replying: “I don’t know what the president thinks about some of these things, so there are questions I can’t answer. My relationship with the president has always been extraordinary. Like a father and son, in a sporting sense. I’m grateful because he brought me here. I’m never going to speak out against him. I will remember the affection he showed me and our hug there in the farewell. Any misunderstanding is in the past. I’ll remember the good.”
After discussing the renewal process, Ramos went on to answer other questions. He was asked how he would define his time at the club. He replied: “How to define my career in Real Madrid? I’d prefer others to do that. If I had to pick one word, I’d say ‘purity’. Every minute on the pitch I was myself. It has been the best stage of my life. We’ve won many titles. Joining is one of the best decisions I took in my life.”
Where next for Ramos?
The matter of Ramos’ future also came up, although he didn’t talk much about his options. He did, though, rule out Sevilla and Barcelona, stating: “I have been able to talk to clubs from January, so there have been some clubs from clubs who were interested. But, the plan was never to leave Real Madrid, meaning I haven’t thought much about this yet. Now I will. Sevilla is a club of my heart, but I’m not considering that option and I don’t think Sevilla are considering that either. Barcelona is a clear ‘no’ too. I don’t know if I’ll ever play in the Spanish league again. These are situations I’ve not considered yet.”
As he reached the end of his press conference, he broke into tears again as he spoke about his parents and reflected on the 16 years as a whole. “I’m proud to have arrived with my family and to leave with my family.”
Finally, he stated that he was happy with the event put on this Thursday, having previously said that when he leaves he wants to leave through the front door. He concluded: “I’d have liked to have left with an event the Bernabéu. But well done to the club and president for putting this together, with the trophies and my family.”