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Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez insists Sergio Ramos will stay at Santiago Bernabeu despite interest from Manchester United.

Speculation continues to mount over the Spain international’s future at Madrid with suggestions he could be part of a deal which sees United goalkeeper David de Gea move in the opposite direction after long-term Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas left the club.

Ramos has been made the club’s captain and, ahead of their pre-season friendly with Manchester City, Benitez gave his clearest indication yet that Ramos would be going nowhere.

“For me, 100 per cent. I insist that it is clear for me and the club, Sergio will be here. Football is a curious world, but Ramos will be staying.

“I have a lot of respect for Louis van Gaal, but Sergio will be staying with us. He is our player, our captain. I would like to see him at the beginning of the season, because he’s a key player for us.

Meanwhile, Madrid team-mate Luka Modric supported Benitez’s assertion that Ramos remains an integral part of los Blancos.

“I hope that Sergio stays as he’s so important for us,” the midfielder is quoted as saying by SPORT. “[He’s] our captain and our leader, on and off the pitch.

“He seems happy and I feel that he will stay. I’m sure he wants to stay, too.”