• Captain says he hopes José Mourinho stays at Real
• Defender eager to tackle Manchester United
Sergio Ramos has played down talk of dressing room conflict as Real Madrid prepare for their Champions League tie with Manchester United. Madrid lie 13 points behind Barcelona in La Liga and have conceded the title amid reports of turmoil and ultimatums at the club and with the chances of José Mourinho continuing at the club next season looking slimmer by the day.
Ramos, in an interview with the Observer, also expressed his hope that Cristiano Ronaldo will continue at the club, despite the lack of progress on a new contract and his claim earlier in the season that he was "sad".
Reports in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca suggested that during a meal with the club's president, Florentino Pérez, captains Iker Casillas and Ramos warned Pérez that should Mourinho continue next season a number of players would consider handing in transfer requests.
Pérez publicly denied the story in an unprecedented press conference. But a few days later the reporter Sara Carbonero referred it being "vox populi" that part of the dressing room do not get on with Mourinho. Carbonero is the girlfriend of Casillas.
But Ramos said: "It's more a case of things that people said that weren't true than a reality of conflicts in the dressing room. If there are problems in the dressing room or if the relationship is bad and stories are published that can create issues and affect you; it generates a problem. But when there are no problems and people invent it, [it does not matter]. We have to leave all that aside. Because if you let that get to you, you can't live."
Asked if he thought Mourinho would stay at Madrid into next season, Ramos replied: "Let's hope so. But that's his decision. He's a great coach and we have been lucky to have had him. The decision is in his hands; he has to decide what he does. We're happy with him. Football is results. Clubs look for quick changes, solutions straight away. And when a team as big as this one, with so much repercussion, goes three games without winning people look for quick changes because it's not normal.
"The scapegoat at good moments and bad is always the coach. He always pays for the broken plates. He's the one that's changed [sacked] first. If the coach does not get results, he's the first one in people's sights. And then if they get rid of the coach and it does not go well, they look at the president."
"[Madrid] have perhaps begun to believe a bit more in the project. Now things are not changed day by day, month by month. There's more margin for error to think about what's the right thing to do. I think that they are being more patient, more flexible now. And that's good for everyone. Before, coaches were changed very quickly. I had a season, if I remember right, where I had three or four coaches. And even changes of president."
He added: "I think [Ronaldo] wants to continue. Let's hope so. He is a key part of this system. He's a pillar. He's happy, motivated and he's playing well. That goes hand in hand with results. If you win you're happy; when results are going badly it's normal for you to be sad. Cristiano and some of us feel the commitment of carrying the club forward for many years."