Rafa Benitez: Sergio Ramos is integral to Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos

Kevin Palmer

Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez is optimistic Sergio Ramos will remain at the club this summer despite ongoing reports linking the Spain defender with Manchester United.

Ramos is tied to Real for another two seasons but has not been offered a contract extension.

The Spanish press claim that the 29-year-old defender is keen to leave Real after 10 years at the club, with Manchester the likely destination for the World Cup winner and two-time European champion.

When asked about Ramos, Benitez said to Marca: "I spoke to him regarding his future, his ideas and our ideas during this summer and when we started training in Madrid.

"We have not spoken again about it.


"I see the future with Sergio because he is a key player.

"I believe (Real president Florentino Perez) has said, perhaps not publicly but I have read it somewhere, that Ramos will continue and that he will remain here.

"If that happens, I will be the happiest man in the world because he is a great professional, a great player."

Ramos is expected to be named Real's next captain following the departure of Iker Casillas to Porto last weekend.

"It has been a great satisfaction to see how he applies himself in training and works every day," Benitez said. "With the commitment and motivation that I see in him, I believe he can be a great captain."

The Spain international is the longest-serving player in Real's squad after joining Los Blancos from Sevilla in the summer of 2005.

Ramos made 27 league appearances to help Real finish runners-up to Barcelona this past season.

The Seville-born player also made eight starts in the Champions League as Real reached the semi-finals of the competition.

Ramos is currently training in Melbourne, Australia, with the Spanish giants as part of their summer tour.