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San Diego FC, Sergio Ramos in advanced talks


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MLS expansion side San Diego FC is in advanced talks with Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, sources briefed on the deal tell The Athletic.

A deal is not yet agreed or finalized, but the expectation is Ramos would be a designated player if he signs. Ramos will be a free agent this summer after his contract with Sevilla expires and is not expected to renew his deal with his boyhood club, two sources briefed on the situation said.

A source briefed on the situation says Ramos has other offers around the globe in addition to San Diego, which will debut in MLS in 2025.

Ramos, 38, is one of the most decorated defenders in the history of world football. He won four Champions League trophies with Real Madrid as well as five La Liga titles. He won two French league titles with PSG after leaving Madrid and returned to Sevilla this year, where he has made 34 appearances in all competitions (all starts).

Ramos earned 180 caps for the Spanish national team and was a key starter in the team’s historic run in which it won the 2010 World Cup and back-to-back Euros in 2008 and 2012.


San Diego FC makes key hire to direct academy

What sort of reputation would Ramos bring to San Diego?

Few defenders have built as robust a legacy as Ramos. From his days as a makeshift fullback for the dynastic Spain teams from 2008-2012 to his legend-making years anchoring Real Madrid, he’s one of a few active players to be among the game’s all-time greats. That much is indisputable.

What’s particularly interesting here is a nascent club hitching its first impression to his specific reputation. Ramos is an absolute gamer, someone willing to go to great lengths if it means his team will claim victory. It has made him endearing to his fans and among the sport’s most dastardly villains for the rest. Before San Diego has even kicked a ball, it has seemingly committed to adopting a similar ethos. – Jeff Rueter

How big a deal is this for MLS?

This newsbreak comes on the same day that Olivier Giroud committed that he’ll leave Europe for Los Angeles FC, and amidst the ongoing FC Barcelona reunion in South Beach. Naturally, the league’s detractors will point to this as the latest evidence that MLS is a “retirement league” for attracting global stars for their twilight years.

Bear in mind, MLS is more of a selling league than a buying one these days and a few select seasoned legends won’t hamper its growing development pipeline. In fact, being able to get icons like Ramos, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Giroud may optically keep it one step ahead of the Saudi Pro League project. As LAFC learned by signing Giorgio Chielini and Gareth Bale, players of such a standard can still make for valuable additions. – Jeff Rueter

Who else has San Diego signed?

San Diego is finalizing a deal to sign Mexican international Hirving “Chucky” Lozano as the club’s inaugural roster begins to take shape. San Diego has officially signed three players so far — young American goalkeeper Duran Ferree plus Danish veterans Jeppe Tverskov and Marcus Ingvartsen.

The latter two currently play for San Diego’s sister club FC Nordsjælland and will join ahead of preseason in January 2025.

The club still hasn’t yet named a sporting director or a head coach, though The Athletic reported earlier in April that they are in advanced talks with AS Monaco technical director Carlos Aviña Ibarrola for the former position. That deal is expected to be announced at some point this month.

San Diego recently announced the hire of Alianza de Futbol founder Joaquin Escoto as the head of its academy program.

(Photo: Ivan Terron/Europa Press via Getty Images)

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