Real Madrid stand to lose Ramos to pay Gareth Bale

Real Madrid is demanding players currently in contract talks, like Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez, take pay cuts while the club's hands are tied with Bale's €30m annual salary.

Sergio Ramos' salary cut would be to pay Gareth Bale

Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos remain at an impasse in contract negotiations that could end up with the veteran captain leaving this summer when his current deal runs out.

The 34-year-old defender refuses to accept the pay cut that Madrid is demanding, while the club maintains it cannot continue to pay his current salary due to the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.

One way in which the club could find some financial breathing room would be by ridding itself of Gareth Bale's massive wage bill before he returns to see out the last year of his contract.

Bale is currently on loan at Tottenham but coach Jose Mourinho has no interest in keeping the Welshman for another year. That means Madrid will be left to pay his annual €30 million salary during his final season at the club should he return in the summer. If that happens, which seems the most likely outcome, a chance to significantly alleviate the massive salary bill will be lost, which could, in turn, open up other cracks in the dressing room.

Ramos and Lucas Vazquez’s cause for grievance with Bale

From the club, suggestions have dropped, in many forms, that everyone must tighten their belts. Ramos and Bale are the two highest-paid members of the squad. And while the former has played 668 games for Madrid, the latter had played just 50% of the total possible minutes before his temporary departure to London.

These facts could also be a cause for grievance for Lucas Vázquez, another who has been asked to take a pay cut despite playing 20 games this season without a rest. He, like Ramos, is currently in contract talks with the club and currently doesn’t know where he will be next season despite being an integral member of Zinedine Zidane’s squad (something that cannot be said of Bale, the squad’s highest-paid player).

Hazard's salary and possible signings

The impasse between Ramos and Real Madrid shows no signs of improving as both sides continue to maintain their respective positions. The club are willing to let him go if he doesn’t accept a cut; while Ramos feels he should not be forced to take a cut after more than 10 years of exceptional service.

Ramos has been playing with one knee at the limit until the point that he could take no more and had to undergo surgery. At the same time, he may feel aggrieved by the attitude of team mates like Eden Hazard (with a similar salary to his), who has made light of his numerous absences due to injury.

Eden Hazard

“Injuries are not the end of the world, as I can spend more time with my family,” were the controversial words of the Belgian winger in an interview this week with On the Front Foot magazine. Having played just 25% of the total possible minutes since his arrival, Hazard has played even less than Bale and represents another massive €28 million chunk of the annual wage bill.

Another point of grievance for the Ramos camp is the fact that Madrid is asking that he – the current captain, leader on the pitch and unofficial spokesperson for the club – take a pay cut due to financial difficulties while the club is also making movements towards big-money investments in players like Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland.

The differences between Ramos and the club look difficult to resolve and in some ways the situation throws up some peculiarities. If Ramos does eventually agree to a pay cut, it will be to pay the full salary of a non-active Gareth Bale. If he leaves, the club will have to go to the market and buy a central defender at his level who will likely have similar or even higher salary demands.

That is the case with David Alaba, the favourite to replace him, who wants a staggering €22 million per year in exchange for his services. The situation remains a complex puzzle with no apparent or immediate solution.