Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos has broken down at a press conference to bid farewell to the club, after a trophy-laden 16 years came to an end when a new contract could not be agreed upon with the veteran defender.
The Spain international has just suffered a difficult season, with injuries ruling him out of Euro 2020 contention and key matches of Los Blanco’s first trophyless season since 2009/2010.
Despite once saying he would play for Madrid “for free”, president Florentino Perez was unable to meet his wage demands and offer the two-year deal Ramos craved given his advancing age and financial problems that rock the club currently rebuilding its iconic Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) June 17, 2021
In a specially held event that began around 12.30pm in the Spanish capital, following news that he would leave on Wednesday evening, the 35-year-old failed to contain his emotions.
Along with his wife Pilar Rubio and their children, Ramos first watched a tribute video that took in the best moments from a highly-successful tenure which included four Champions League and five La Liga titles.
Getting the proceedings underway, Perez said: “This act is an act full of feeling and emotions for all Madridistas, and also for me.”
“It is not an easy day, [as there have] been many years with Sergio, many games and a time full of intensity and a lot of affection.
“I will not forget September 8, 2005, when Sergio arrived at the Bernabéu to be presented,” Perez vowed.
“He had a huge desire to conquer the world. It was my first signing of a Spanish player, a kid from Camas [in Seville] with enormous strength, a signing that was not easy – but we were convinced that your arrival was going to mark an era.”
Sergio Ramos – not a bad signing for €27m.
🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 La Liga
🏆🏆🏆🏆 Spanish Super Cup
🏆🏆🏆🏆 Club World Cup
🏆🏆🏆UEFA Super Cup
🏆🏆Copa del Rey pic.twitter.com/m34hab9ip7
— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) June 16, 2021
“Sixteen years have passed and you have outlined one of the most spectacular trajectories in the history of our club. You arrived almost as a child and I am enormously proud of what you have conquered.
“You are one of the great legends of Real Madrid. Thank you for defending the badge and our shirt. For the Madridistas who love this club, you will always be the man of La Decima.
“The 93rd minute in Lisbon is what this club means for millions of people,” Perez stated, in reference to Ramos’ stoppage-time equalizer in the 2014 Champions League final that helped the club land their long-elusive 10th European crown against cross-city rivals Atletico.
Reply with a GIF 📱 to this 2014 #UCL final moment…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 3, 2020
“In total, 22 titles make you, together with Marcelo, the Madrid player with the most titles in [club] history, [which is] only surpassed by Paco Gento,” Perez went on.
“You have scored 101 goals, an impressive number for a defender and have played 671 games with our badge.
“You will forever be one of our great captains. Today all Madridistas and I especially thank you for having made the club’s legend grow and more admired around the world.
“It is not an easy day because you have been someone really special to me, because you and I have lived and suffered through the history of Real Madrid together.
“I wish you to be happy and to know that this will always be your home. A legend like you will always be one of the great ambassadors of Madrid,” Perez finished.
Sergio Ramos is in tears at the farewell party, they will not be able to replace you with anyone, Ramos😔👏👏 pic.twitter.com/eyLx4mvIQi
— Khaled Aleshaiwy | خالد العشيوي (@khaled0bss) June 17, 2021
Finally taking the podium, Ramos was by now an emotional wreck and began by saying: “The moment has arrived, one of the most difficult of my life. You are never prepared to say goodbye to Real Madrid…But the time has come to bid farewell to Real Madrid.”
Then beginning to talk about his father, Ramos broke down in tears.
“It is inevitable to get animated,” he conceded.
“I would have liked to say goodbye at our stadium, at the Santiago Bernabeu. [But] thanks to Real Madrid, I will always carry you in my heart. A wonderful stage, unique in my life, closes, [and] a stage of hope of the future opens [where] I really want to show my best level for many years, [and] be able to add another title to my record.
“Thank you all very much. This is more than a goodbye. It is a ‘See you later’, because I’ll be back,” he promised.
More than a Capitán, my friend, my brother thanks for all the moments we spent together on the road of success for the @realmadrid Wish you all the best legend @SergioRamos ❤️🙏🏼🔥 pic.twitter.com/3KcYOq4IwU
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) June 17, 2021
Now a free agent, it remains to be seen whether Ramos will join another top club such as PSG or Manchester City and land them a long-awaited UCL crown, head home to Sevilla where it all began, or link up with close friend David Beckham at Inter Miami in the US.
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