As the enigmatic winner of every trophy imaginable, Sergio Ramos is surely destined for a spot among the game’s pantheon of greats.
However, when the time comes to parse through Ramos’ glittering career, the two years he spent at Paris Saint-Germain will serve as little more than a forgotten footnote.
Ramos almost had his deal terminated after limping through his first three months in Paris on the sidelines. The centre-back’s second appearance for the club, in December, brought a trademark red card. Once fit enough to be a regular, Ramos couldn’t transpose his Champions League-winning pedigree onto the dysfunctional unit, failing to preside over a single clean sheet in European competition.
With 37 years and almost as many titles to his name, Ramos could live up to his pirate aesthetic and happily sail off into the sunset. Yet, while signing off at PSG he promised: “I will face new challenges, I will wear other colours.”
Here are some possible shades Ramos could don next season.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s view of Middle Eastern football has dramatically changed over the course of six months. After distancing himself from a move to Saudi Arabia in his infamous interview with Piers Morgan, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now calling for “big players and big names” to join him in the kingdom.
Ramos played 340 matches alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid but endured a complicated relationship with the demanding forward. Contact between the duo has been limited since Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018 but they could be reunited at Al Nassr this summer.
Ronaldo may have propelled Al Nassr to prominence following his arrival but Al Hilal are Saudi Arabia’s traditional elite.
In the midst of a transfer ban when Ronaldo arrived at Al Nassr after the winter World Cup, Al Hilal have relentlessly been linked with a gargantuan move for Lionel Messi, who is following Ramos out of the door at PSG this summer.
Reports in France speak of an offer to quadruple Ramos’ PSG wages – which were hardly insignificant – should he join on a free transfer this summer. With the Saudi top flight targeting as many as 20 high-profile players in the division next season, Ramos could be one of the arrivals.
READ MORE FROM THE 90MIN TALKING TRANSFERS TEAM
Inter Miami have been sniffing around Ramos since he entered the final months of his penultimate contract with Real Madrid in 2020. Three years on, the rugged centre-back isn’t quite at the heights of that La Liga-winning vintage but whispers of a move to David Beckham’s Inter persist.
Beckham’s former club LA Galaxy are also supposedly interested in the 37-year-old. Both clubs have made dire starts to the MLS season, with Inter propping up the Eastern Conference and Galaxy recording the worst defensive record in the western half of the division.
When Ramos’ mum warned him off following his first passion – bullfighting – he channelled his exuberance into football, rapidly rising through the ranks at Sevilla.
Ramos only spent one full season in the senior side before joining Real Madrid, systematically eroding all of the good faith he had built during his time as a precocious teenager in Andalusia. As recently as March 2023, Sevilla had part of their stadium closed as a delayed punishment for abuse that the fans dished out to Ramos in 2017.
However, there have been tentative rumours of a return to Spain for Ramos this summer. Victory in the Europa League final, and the prospect of Champions League football next season, makes Sevilla a more attractive destination but Ramos would have to stomach a hefty pay cut.
After Real Madrid president Florentino Perez supposedly denied Ramos a lucrative move to China in 2019, the centre-back diplomatically outlined the bond between the two strong characters.
“The president and I have a father-son relationship,” Ramos said, “we love each other a lot, the friction produces love.” However, in the intervening years, the love appears to have faded while the friction has increased.
Putting aside the relationship between Perez and Ramos, Real Madrid have been uncharacteristically frugal in recent years, pinching the pennies and prioritising youth.
While it would be a romantic return to the club that he captained to so much success, it remains unlikely.
On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Alexis Mac Allister, Karim Benzema, William Saliba & more!
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!