When Sevilla presented 37-year-old Sergio Ramos as their last summer signing, their sporting director Victor Orta pulled out a toy plane and gifted it to the club president, Pepe Castro.
Just a few days before the window shut, in the middle of a scrum of reporters, Castro was told: ‘Ramos wants to join Sevilla!’ He replied: ‘Yeah, and I want my own private plane.’
Castro handed the toy plane to one of Ramos’s four young sons watching the press conference ahead of their father’s return to the club he left as a 19-year-old in 2005.
Ramos turned down a massive offer from Saudi Arabia to ‘close the circle’ of his career and play for his hometown team in the Champions League for the first time.
He will do so against Arsenal in October — alongside Jesus Navas, his team-mate back in 2005 when Ramos left for Real Madrid in a switch which was financed by Michael Owen’s move from Real to Newcastle.
Sergio Ramos completed a fairytale return to his boyhood club Sevilla earlier this month
Ramos (pictured in 2004) broke through at Sevilla, before moving to Real Madrid back in 2005
Some Sevilla supporters have never forgotten the speed with which he left and the way Ramos sometimes celebrated victories against them once he was playing for Madrid.
The club’s ultras objected to his return and could make their views known at the game against Las Palmas on Sunday. Judging by the 22,000 who welcomed him back to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium at his presentation, the dissenters will be in the minority. ‘If someone wants to whistle me then let them get it over with quickly,’ Ramos said.
He knows big performances will soon convince everyone. Can he deliver them?
Ramos turned down a mega-money offer from Saudi Arabia to ‘close the circle’ of his career
He was welcomed home by 22,000 fans but some are unhappy at the club’s move for Ramos
Last season he did well for Paris Saint-Germain when he played in the middle of a back three.
But Sevilla boss Jose Luis Mendilibar plays a back-four and a high defensive line to boot, so it won’t be simple.
The easy thing would have been to take the Saudi Pro League windfall. Ramos could have paid off the mortgage of everyone he knows several times over and bought a second stud farm full of thoroughbred colts (he already has one).
Instead, the winner of 180 Spain caps and four Champions League titles with Real wanted one more chapter of glory at the club that nurtured him as a young player. It will be some story if he can make it happen.