Rafael Benitez insists he fought harder than anyone at Real Madrid to prevent Sergio Ramos leaving the Bernabeu in the summer.
Ramos was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United during the summer transfer window, after reportedly making up his mind to leave the Spanish giants, but a move failed to materialise after the centre-back performed a dramatic U-turn by putting pen to paper on a new contract.
The Spain international has missed a few matches this season, after dislocating his shoulder last month, and Benitez has denied suggestions that he wants to get rid of the 29-year-old - insisting he was the man who prevented Ramos from joining Manchester United in the summer.
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"I fought more than anyone for Ramos to stay,” Benitez told Onda Cero radio, according to the Independent. “There are absolutely no problems between us. He's our captain, an outstanding footballer and he has to keep showing that".
Indeed, Benitez’s decision to deploy Ramos at centre-back in the derby against Atletico Madrid before the international break suggests he does think highly of the defender.
Sergio Ramos is a liability at times
Manchester United were prepared to pay a fortune for the World Cup winner who, in truth, can be a liability at times.
No player in Real Madrid’s history has been sent off more times than Ramos, and this lack of discipline on the pitch would naturally concern any coach - particularly one as pragmatic as Benitez.
However, in terms of natural ability, Ramos is undoubtedly one of Real Madrid’s best two centre-backs - alongside Rafael Varane - and this is why Benitez must stick with his compatriot for the foreseeable future.
Manchester United fans: are you glad that Sergio Ramos didn’t sign for your club? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!