Sergio Ramos is leaving Real Madrid – and legend alerts huge clubs to his fitness by doing hill runs half naked in gloves (VIDEO)
Despite the contract stand-off that had threatened to end defender Ramos's 16-year spell at the Spanish giants, few had truly expected one of the most successful partnerships of all time between a club and player to come to an end this summer.
In a seismic statement on Wednesday, though, Madrid revealed that an "institutional act of tribute and farewell" would be taking place for Ramos the following day, featuring controversial club president Florentino Perez and a virtual press conference with the four-time Champions League and five-time Liga winner.
At 35, Ramos has already suffered a surprise omission from the Spain squad at Euro 2020 this month. His enforced departure from his domestic and international sides is partly perceived as an attempt by bosses to bring in new talent rather than rely on a figure coming towards the end of his career.
Ramos remains a formidable player with considerable experience that is likely to attract leading sides across Europe. Premier League champions Manchester City and their Spanish manager, Pep Guardiola, have been rumored to be ready to offer the tough veteran a two-year deal to strengthen their squad.
The long-serving Bernabeu captain appeared to advertize his fitness to potential suitors ahead of the news breaking, sprinting up a slope in a set of briefs before walking back down to show off his ripped, tattooed frame in a curious pair of red gloves.
Ramos added two bulging bicep emojis to the post on a platform that shows the level of profile he would bring to a team, boasting more than 44 million followers.
A day earlier, those fans had seen romantic Ramos and his glamorous wife – presenter, actress and model Pilar Rubio, who is the mother of his four children – share identical posts on their wedding anniversary.
"Time passes, but every day by your side is to relive this moment that we shared two years ago," they both said, accompanying their soppiness with a photo from the momentous day.
"May we never stop smiling, enjoying, getting excited and kissing each other tenderly on the forehead to celebrate luck and life by your side."
Ramos missed much of Madrid's stuttering 2020/21 season through a series of issues including knee and tendon injuries.
The Ballon d'Or Dream Team star made only 15 Liga appearances and five Champions League outings in total – figures that his new club might hope to improve upon.
He overtook Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's record for the most international appearances by a European player in November, winning his 177th cap.
The Euro finals would have extended a run of appearances at major tournaments with Spain that had been unbroken since 2004.Also on rt.com ‘A downgrade’: Football fans scoff at prospect of Spain legend Sergio Ramos’ proposed switch from Real Madrid to Manchester City