Sergio Ramos has been taking English lessons ahead of a potential move to Manchester United, according to reports in Spain.
A source close to the top at Real Madrid told The Independent's Ian Herbert that Ramos could be bluffing to get improved terms on his contract - but the Spanish international, 29, may have pushed the club too far in what is the latest of a series of confrontations with the club, with Manchester United set to capitalise.
Ramos is unhappy at leaks about his future and nobody from Real Madrid coming out to deny that he had been offered to bitter rivals Barcelona.
Spanish newspaper AS report that the centre-back, who has a €200million (£143m) buyout clause, met with Manchester United officials in a London hotel in April and has been taking English lessons in preparation for an exit.
Real Madrid value Ramos at around €65m (£46.5m) with United interested in including goalkeeper David De Gea as part of an exchange deal.
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