Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane would all benefit from a quick decision on the club captain’s future, according to his coach.
Madrid skipper Ramos is out of contract at the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season and has been linked to a host of rival clubs, including each of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ along with Paris Saint-Germain.
But the 34-year-old remains a key man in Madrid, starting all eight of the champions’ LaLiga games this season and scoring twice, while trailing only centre-back partner Raphael Varane for clearances (21), headed clearances (12) and blocks (two) in the top flight.
Zidane now wants to see a swift resolution to the contract situation.
“The situation with the club and Sergio, I hope it’s sorted out quickly for the good of everyone – for me as a manager as well,” he said ahead of Saturday’s game against Villarreal.
Zidane added: “He’s our leader, an important player, an important person. He’s shown that and he’s still showing that. He needs to stay here until he decides he wants to change.”
The Frenchman will not be able to call on Ramos this weekend or against Inter in the Champions League in midweek, however, following a hamstring injury on international duty with Spain.
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It was put to Zidane that Ramos’ absence against Inter would be particularly keenly felt given Madrid’s woes without their captain in prior big European games.
Since their most recent Champions League triumph in 2018, the 13-time winners have lost six of the seven games Ramos has missed in the competition, conceding 17 times. They have been beaten in just one of the 12 games he has featured in.
Zidane said: “Listen, he’s our captain, we want him to be with us always, every game. For what he is, for what he shows, we know the importance of Sergio.
“When he’s not here, we have to use the players who are here, who are working hard, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Madrid are facing a potential crisis at centre-back, with Varane and Eder Militao each far from certain to start against Villarreal following injuries.
Zidane said he was “worried” by the number of games his players are being asked to play, although he would not be drawn on Toni Kroos’ comments on the matter, and acknowledged he would have liked to be able to rest Ramos previously but “it’s difficult with the fixture schedule”.
Four points off the top, Zidane cannot afford a slip-up with pressure mounting in the capital.
“That’s not going to change,” he said. “We just prepare to have our game tomorrow and do well and that’s it.
“This is Real Madrid. We know the situation, we know all about it; every time we play we can’t fail. It’s always been like that. That’s what this club is all about, but that’s okay.”
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