Real's Ramos cocks ear to Old Trafford

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The Independent Online

The Spain defender Sergio Ramos is flattered by reported interest from Manchester United and admitted he would "see what happens" following Euro 2008.

The Real Madrid player was one of the cornerstones of the club's La Liga title defence last season and is a first choice for national team coach, Luis Aragones. He starred at right-back in the side's opening 4-1 victory over Russia which led them being installed as Euro 2008 favourites.

Although he stressed he was not angling for a move while his focus was on events in Austria and Switzerland, he was vague about his future following the summer showpiece.

When asked on radio station Canal Sur about United's interest, he said: "It is a good sign that big clubs are interested in me, but at the moment I am not considering anything. I have a good contract with Madrid and I am concentrating on the national team. When Euro 2008 finishes we will see what happens."

Ramos's agent, Sergio Bravo, did little to quell the speculation by claiming he has a good working relationship with the Old Trafford club, saying: "It is true that on Monday I was in England. I have a good relationship with Manchester United. I sorted the transfer of [goalkeeper] Ricardo to the English club."

A deal could be delicate to broker, however, as United recently reported Madrid to football's world governing body Fifa, claiming the Spanish giants have carried out a deliberate campaign to unsettle Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

The France striker Karim Benzema is set to remain with Lyons until after the 2010 World Cup, according to the club's president Jean-Michel Aulas, despite also being linked with Manchester United.

The 20-year-old frontman is regarded as one of the best young players in Europe after scoring 20 league goals to spearhead Lyons' seventh consecutive Ligue 1 title last season. However, he was disappointing in France's opening game at Euro 2008, as the 2004 champions were held to a goalless draw by Romania.

Aulas is in Barcelona to attend the European Club Association (ECA) conference at the Nou Camp, and with the Catalan giants reportedly amongst Benzema's admirers, he took time to dispel speculation a deal could be made to sell his star striker. "With €40m (£31.5m) or €50m we would sell Benzema's ear," Aulas joked to reporters.

"It is not a question of money. The player wants to achieve something big in the Champions League with Lyons. He is happy at the club and this can be seen with his latest contract renewal. I am sure that he will stay with Lyons until the 2010 World Cup finals."

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