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May 26, 2014

Sergio Ramos wants to retire at Real

Sergio Ramos said he wants to finish his career at Real Madrid, after an up-and-down season ended with the centre-back as the goalscoring hero of the 4-1 Champions League final win over city neighbours Atletico Madrid.

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Ramos was even linked with a move away from Madrid during the autumn after reported behind the scenes issues with club president Florentino Perez, but finished the club campaign in sensational style. His 93rd-minute header sent the final in Lisbon to extra-time just as it seemed Atletico had held on for a famous win, while two similar goals were also vital to the 4-0 semifinal second leg win at Bayern Munich.

The Spain international, 28, told AS during Sunday evening's Decima party at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu that he hoped he could finish his career in a Madrid shirt.

"I feel privileged to be at the best team in the world," Ramos said. "I say it loud that I want to be here for many years and retire here. From the first day I have felt the affection of the fans and I will always be grateful. It is a dream to lift 'Ol' Big Ears'.

The former Sevilla defender scored six times in the season's last seven games, having previously gone 41 matches without finding the net for Madrid and Spain. Things were not so positive earlier in the season, with reports in November claiming his relationship with Perez had broken down completely after the alleged 'either he goes or we go' ultimatum given to Perez by Ramos and Iker Casillas over the future of then coach Jose Mourinho in January 2012. That led to speculation that Manchester City -- or even Barcelona -- could move for the World Cup winner for a fee in the region of 65 million euros.

In the aftermath of Saturday's final in Lisbon Ramos admitted to El Pais that he had not been happy or focused during this season's early months.

"At the start of the season there were difficult moments," he said. "My head was somewhere else, my situation was not comfortable, and that was reflected on the pitch. In January I said to [Carlo Ancelotti] that from now on you will see my best version."

According to AS the former Sevilla player's current contract -- which runs until June 2017 -- earns him six million euros [net] a year, a similar salary to Casillas. A new deal could see him take home eight and nine million euros a year, putting him third on the Bernabeu's salary scale behind just Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

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