Real Betis' Dani Ceballos downplays transfer links to Real Madrid
Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos has played down reports that he will join Real Madrid this summer, telling Onda Cero radio that he will only make a decision on his future after the European Under-21 Championship.
Under contract with the Andalusian outfit until June 2020, Ceballos has attracted the attention of numerous clubs after making 24 league starts with Betis in the 2016-17 campaign.
Don Balon reported that the 20-year-old is set to become Real's first signing, with the La Liga and European champions expected to pay the midfielder's €15 million release clause.
"I have three years left on my contract with Betis, but it's always beautiful to play European competitions with other clubs, although that is a long way away," Ceballos said.
"I'm aware that there is a lot of attention on this tournament and that there are teams interested in me. I'm focused on doing the best I can."
The amount of the promising player's release clause is relatively low, as the player himself admitted.
"The truth is that right now the [transfer] market is complex because there are very expensive transfers being made, but the clause is the one I have," he said. "I'm focused on the European Championship and once the tournament is over, I will decide on my future."
Spain's under-21s take on Italy in Tuesday's semifinal in Krakow, with the final set for Friday.
Ceballos began his playing career at Sevilla but was released in 2009 after suffering from a chronic bronchitis condition. He joined city rivals Betis, where he went through the youth ranks before making his senior debut in 2014.
Real reportedly came close to signing Ceballos in the summer of 2015, but the deal did not materialise.
Betis president Angel Haro knows his team can do little to stop Ceballos from leaving if a club pays his release clause, yet he is optimistic the player will stay put.
He recently told Marca: "We are relatively calm as the player is under contract. If the player in the end decides that he wants to leave, something he has not done, and there is a club willing to pay the release clause... But I would like for Dani to continue and I trust that will be the case.
"I think it's good for him and obviously great for Betis, but important for him because here he can continue to grow."
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.