Rafa Benitez '100%' certain that Sergio Ramos will stay at Real Madrid
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez says defender Sergio Ramos will "100%" stay with the Spanish club and not make a move to Manchester United.
Spanish media have linked the 29-year-old Spaniard with a possible shift to the English Premier League team.
But Benitez all but ruled that out Thursday at a media conference ahead of his side's final match of the International Champions Cup friendly tournament against Manchester City at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
Ramos, a World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, is Real Madrid's longest-serving player and has been handed the captaincy following the departure of long-serving goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
"Yes, for me, 100% (he is staying)," Benitez said. "Ramos is our player, he's a key player for us, he's the captain ... 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."
Madrid midfielder Luka Modric wanted Ramos to stay with the 10-time European champions.
"I hope that he stays," the Croatian player said. "He's a very important part of the team. He's our captain and our leader, both on and off the pitch."
Benitez also denied suggestions from traveling Spanish journalists that his star forward Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy — "angry and tense" in some of the media's words.
"I have had the opportunity this week to spend quite a few days with him," Benitez 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.
"His performance will be up to scratch ... seeing Ronaldo up close training, I can see that's he doing very well."
More than 90,000 people are expected to attend Friday night's match at the MCG.