Paris Saint-Germain have announced the signing of Sergio Ramos, a day after their website accidentally published his shirt number.
The 35-year-old Spanish defender ended an illustrious 16-year association with Real Madrid, where he lifted five La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns, and subsequently entered the free agent market.
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A host of European super clubs, including both Manchester clubs and Bayern Munich, were soon linked with him but. in the end, nine-time French champions PSG won out.
Ramos becomes the Parisian’s third high-profile acquisition this summer, following Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Moroccan wing-back Achraf Hakimi.
Before the official announcement was made, the club’s site prematurely leaked a conversation with Ramos’ discussing his shirt number. Since jumping from boyhood club Sevilla to Spain’s biggest club in 2005, ultimately making 671 appearances in all competitions and registering 101 goals, the decorated centre-back has won ‘number four’ for sentimental reasons.“This number 4, I appreciate it a lot out of superstition, because I had it from the story of my career, and then it accompanied me throughout my life, continued me, brought good luck, and a lot of victories. Now number 4 is part of me as a person and as a professional,” he said. “For me, it’s a privilege to be able to wear this number in such a great team, Paris Saint-Germain. So it will necessarily be very special to be able to wear my number here in Paris.”
These quotes, aside from unintentionally confirming PSG’s latest recruit, also mean German central defender Thilo Kehrer will be getting a new squad number.
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Champions League or bust?
Since their acquisition by Qatar Sports Investments (QSi) early last decade, PSG have spent a fortune chasing European football’s holy grail. They’ve gone through four different managers before settling on Mauricio Pochettino in January 2021. But the former Tottenham boss knows it’s Champions League or nothing, especially after his predecessor, Thomas Tuchel, guided Chelsea to a second title in the season just gone. Tuchel a year earlier took PSG to their first-ever final but fell short against Bayern Munich.
Prior to their 2019 breakthrough, PSG’s best Champions League finish was a quarter-final berth, which occurred four times. The squad at Pochettino’s disposal is as good as any playing in the 2021/22 campaign with Ramos and Wijnaldum (as former winners) bringing experience and leadership. If they’re able to retain Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, then pressure to succeed will reach new heights. Being first among equals in France’s top division is no longer satisfactory for the powers that be, who are still passionate about making Paris the footballing capital of Europe.