Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has denied reports that Sergio Ramos is set for a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu in January.
The Spanish defender had been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Chelsea the likely destination, according to Charles Perrin in the Express.
But now Ancelotti has moved to dispel these rumours, insisting that Real Madrid “need” the services of the 27-year-old.
Speaking with Spanish paper AS—via Perrin—Ancelotti said:
I talked a lot with the president and I have never talked about selling Ramos. Everyone knows the importance of Ramos, technically, and what he has achieved at this club. He is one of the best players in the world and we need to have him.
The other players are very good, Pepe has experience and the rest are young. The young players need to be guided by the experience of Ramos and Pepe.
Ramos has been a mainstay in the Real Madrid side since he joined form Sevilla at the beginning of the 2005/06 season. He has won a World Cup and two European Championships with his country, while collecting three La Liga crowns with Los Blancos.
Talk of a potential move away from the Spanish capital had picked up some steam in recent weeks. Tom Hopkinson and Dave Kidd of the Sunday People had reported via the Mirror that Real Madrid were refusing to meet Ramos’ wage demands, and that the defender was becoming fed up with being played out of position.
Ramos, who has picked up 17 career red cards—per Louis Richards in the The Guardian—prefers to play at centre-back, the position in which he helped Spain to European and World domination.
But under Ancelotti, Ramos has found himself at times being deployed at right-back and as a holding midfielder, where he was positioned in Madrid’s El Clasico defeat to Barcelona.
Ancelotti's comments come after Ramos himself played down rumours of a rift with club president Florentino Perez. Ramos told AS—per Stefan Coerts of Goal.com—"I’ll repeat, our differences were nothing to do with the contract. I’ve got three years here and I’m relaxed and I’m not looking to leave."
He added, "I feel privileged and if I could, I would retire here."
Manchester City, who have struggled defensively in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany, were also thought to be interested in Ramos, as were PSG—per Hopkinson and Kidd.
But Ancelotti's and Ramos' comments now suggest that those clubs will have to look elsewhere if they’re to shore up their defence.