Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos insisted he wasn’t motivated by money after ending speculation surrounding his future by signing a new five-year deal with the club on Monday.
Ramos had been courted by Manchester United during a standoff in negotiations between his representatives and Madrid president Florentino Perez over the Spanish international’s salary with his previous deal set to expire in 2017.
According to Spanish media reports, Ramos will earn up to 10 million euros ($11.1 million, £7.1 million) a season.
“The circumstances of the renewal have made it drawn out but my head and heart have always been here,” said Ramos.
“It is clear and I can’t deny it that there were certain things I was uncomfortable with. I never said that I wanted to leave Madrid but I couldn’t continue like that.
“You can see the economic part is the last thing I mention, but there were things we needed to talk about. My happiness is here, so why would I waste time somewhere else.
“If it was an economic issue I wouldn’t have stayed. I could have made more money in another place, but there were other circumstances that I had to fix.”
United had hoped to lure Ramos to England with the backing of a £750 million ($1.3 billion) kit deal with Adidas and a record new Premier League television rights deal to start in 2016.
The two clubs have been locked in transfer talks all summer with Real still hopeful of landing Ramos’s international teammate David de Gea before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Ramos is now Madrid’s longest serving player having signed from Sevilla 10 years ago as a 19-year-old and will be club captain for the first time this season after Iker Casillas’s 18-year career at the Bernabeu came to an end when he joined Porto last month.
And Perez insisted Los Blancos needed Ramos more than ever in the post-Casillas era.
“Sergio Ramos has won everything, but just like Real Madrid he wants more, therefore we need him to maintain that desire,” he said.
Despite holding an unwanted record as the Madrid player to have seen most red cards in the history of the club with a staggering 19 dismissals, Ramos is a hero among the Real support and is most fondly remembered for scoring the goal that saved Los Blancos from losing the 2014 Champions League final to local rivals Atletico Madrid.
His stoppage time header forced the game into extra-time where the white half of Madrid went onto dominate and run out 4-1 winners to complete his own personal repertoire of honours, which also includes three La Liga titles and two Copa del Reys as well as the World Cup and two European Championships at international level with Spain.
By committing to stay at the Bernabeu, Ramos has offered a huge lift to a Real side in need of a confidence boost ahead of the kick-off to the La Liga campaign next weekend.
Ramos was among a host of high-profile first-team players also including Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez who showed their discontent at the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti in May.
The appointment of Rafael Benitez as Ancelotti’s successor was met with scepticism by the vast majority of the club’s fans and Perez has unusually decided against the lavish signing of a “galactico” this summer, instead settling for a deeper and younger squad.
However, without the injured Ronaldo, Benitez’s men have struggled in pre-season, failing to score in four of their seven friendlies so far.
Madrid begin their league campaign away to newly promoted Sporting Gijon on August 23.