As ridiculous as the stories are of high profile Real Madrid players like Sergio Ramos leaving the Bernabeu, they don’t seem to be going away quickly. Jose Mourinho has clashed with the senior Spanish players in the past, with Iker Casillas and Ramos notably squaring up to their manager. But is Sergio Ramos being driven out of Real Madrid, and could he end up in the Premier League?
Jose Mourinho’s bust-ups with players in the Real Madrid camp have been an ever-present theme since he arrived in Spain. There were small pockets of players who seemed to section themselves off from other groups, while the Spanish players were very much about keeping the traditions of the club.
Sergio Ramos’ act of rebellion against Mourinho—although it was painted in a totally different light later on—to wear Mesut Ozil’s shirt under his own did a lot to fuel further speculation that all was not right. There was plenty to talk about when Ramos rose up against his manager’s criticisms of the team’s defending against Barcelona. A Carles Puyol goal was questioned and Ramos was targeted as the player who should have been marking the Barcelona captain.
But it’s incredibly difficult to imagine this Real Madrid team and teams of the near future without Ramos. There’s no one better suited to the captains armband at the club after Iker Casillas, and Ramos’ move to centre-back along with his insistence on a high defensive line played a role in Real’s league success last season. Off of that alone, why wouldn’t the Premier League’s top clubs be plotting raids on one of Spain’s leading players?
How would it sit with the fans if Jose Mourinho stayed while Ramos left? For all the good work Mourinho has done and the obvious links to success he has, there are negatives. Focusing on youth, which many Real supporters want the club to do, is not something that Mourinho advocates. It stretches through his history at Chelsea and Inter Milan. The club’s cantera is arguably equal to that of Barcelona’s in quality and consistency, but many of the players are overlooked. Hopefully Alvaro Morata’s inclusion in the first team while change that going forward.
The relationship Mourinho had in Italy with the media is much closer to the one he has now in Spain. In comparison, England loved him. They lapped up his actions, quotes, those runs down the touchline: it’s all fantastic and makes for very easy living. But surely two out of three countries aren’t wrong. It’s not to suggest that Mourinho isn’t a strong figure and wanted in the Spanish capital, but he’s noticeably yet to win over 100 per cent of supporters and the media.
How do you ever begin to justify the benching of Ramos in comfortably the most high-profile Champions League clash against Manchester City? Results aside, there was plenty of reason to question Raphael Varane’s inclusion over the far more experienced Ramos. But it all adds in to this seeming war behind closed doors between the two.
Barcelona President Sandro Rosell also had another log for the fire. He highlighted that the Catalan club would not necessarily pursue the transfer of Ramos but “never say never.” The door is left open and Barcelona are one of a handful of obvious destinations for Ramos. But once again, how does that sit with the Real fans? It’s hard to see them ever really accepting Mourinho fully should he sanction the sale of one of their very best to their fiercest rivals.
We could look to a further struggle for total dominance on the part of Mourinho. He’s already seen off Jorge Valdano, he doesn’t really appear to take orders from anyone upstairs and has practically been given the keys to the Bernabeu. He wants to mould the club into a successful machine, and we’re sure to see a breakthrough in youth players somewhere down the line. The club needs greater success in the Champions League as well, and Mourinho has been the key to changing their fortunes in the competition in recent seasons. But with Mourinho you’re always going to ask if he’s in it for the long run. He may commit his long term future to the club but history indicates otherwise. Ramos being shipped out only to be followed by Mourinho within 12 months would be a thunderous hammer blow to the club.
As is always the case, the Premier League’s best are sure to pounce when one of Europe’s finest becomes available, and there’s no doubt that Sergio Ramos is one of the finest defenders in Europe. But then ask why Real Madrid would even allow him to go, regardless of any apparent internal struggles.
With Real Madrid being the pressure cooker that it is, clashes such as this are always likely to come up. In fact, almost all of the big stars at Real Madrid have been mentioned in transfer stories. But I don’t see anything in it. Yes, there is something going on between Mourinho and the senior Spanish players, but it won’t and shouldn’t force a move from either side of the divide.