Ramos will stay at Real Madrid: Coach Benitez

Melbourne, July 23 (IANS) Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez on Thursday reasserted his confidence that defender Sergio Ramos will remain at the Spanish club this season despite pursuing a move to English giants Manchester United.

United have been chasing Ramos for the past month, and reports from Spain on Wednesday suggested the defender had already “verbally agreed” to a move to Manchester.

However, Benitez told reporters here on Thursday he was absolutely sure the 29-year-old Real stalwart would not be sold to the English Premier League giants.

Reports suggest United are looking to broker the deal with the Spanish club by swapping its first choice goalkeeper David de Gea for Ramos.

“Yes, for me, 100 percent (he is staying),” he said.

“Ramos is our player, he’s a key player for us, he’s the captain … I think he will be crucial for us during the season. I insist that it is clear for both me and the club that Sergio will be here.”

Real are currently undergoing a pre-season tour in Australia and will end their journey with a match against Manchester City at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday.

Speculation is also rife that Real’s star striker Christiano Ronaldo is also unhappy at the club and wants to force his way out. Ronaldo under-performed in a dour affair against Italian club AS Roma in a goalless match on Saturday.

Benitez watered down speculations from the Spanish press that Ronaldo was presently “angry and tense” with his surroundings at Real.

“I have had the opportunity this week to spend quite a few days with him,” he said.

“I can say that he is competitive, he likes to win and for that reason he is the best in the world, I would like all my players to have that desire to win and compete.”

“I think his performance will be up to scratch … seeing Ronaldo up close training, I can see that he’s doing very well.”

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