Real Madrid have been hit with the unexpected bombshell that Sergio Ramos is considering leaving the club after 14 seasons with the capital club.
The 33-year-old centre-back recently met with coach Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez to express doubts over staying at Madrid, Goal can confirm, with two main factors at the heart of the matter.
First, there has been a breakdown in the Spain international's relationship with Perez following the team's collapse in the Champions League. The captain is reported to have had a bitter argument with the president in the dressing room after his side lost 4-1 at home to Ajax, crashing out of the competition in the second round.
It was a low point in a disastrous season for Madrid and, as the leading figure in the dressing room, Ramos remains in direct contact with Perez but there is a lot of tension between the two.
The other underlying factor is the defender's contract, which runs until 2021. Madrid's policy of making sure their players' deals do not enter their final year means he is supposed to commit to an extension this year. As one of the standard-bearers of one of the club's most glorious eras, he is in a good place to demand a significant wage increase.
On the other hand, Ramos will be 35 by the time his current deal comes to an end, an age few players manage to reach at Real.
Cristiano Ronaldo departed the club at age 33, Iker Casillas was 34 when he left the club for Porto. Another legend, Raul, also left Madrid at age 33.
The two constraints will have a drastic influence on Ramos and Madrid's plans. However, the issues are not seen as insurmountable and Ramos would prefer to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu to continue his legacy.
Despite reports he could be heading to China, the board and Zidane remain optimistic and do not see him leaving this summer.
The situation is reminiscent of the 2015 drama that surrounded Ramos' future. After a difficult season that ended with Carlo Ancelotti's sacking and while Ramos had two years to go on his contract, there were rumblings of a possible move to Manchester United. In the end, he signed an extension for four years and a much better salary.
But, despite the many similarities, whether the outcome will be the same remains unclear. There are still several weeks of talks to go, but they will want everything ironed out before Madrid begin preparations for next season.