Inspirational leader or overrated hack? I’ll let you decide
Sergio Ramos once again flirted on the edge of being sent off after an altercation with Lionel Messi in the latest El Clasico07 March 2019 | Charlie Laurendi
Sports journalist with special interest in football
Barcelona won two derbies in the space of four days, both at the Santiago Bernabeu, knocking out Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey and extending their lead at the top of La Liga in the process. But it was the altercation between Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi which stole the headlines.
A stray elbow from Ramos left Messi with a bloodied nose as both players locked horns angrily, neither player was willing to relent. Ramos received his obligatory yellow card but was fortunate to stay on the pitch. Messi had the last laugh after a goal from Croatian Ivan Rakitic settled the game, ironically by chipping both Ramos and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois into an empty net.
Former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho defended his former pupil by claiming Ramos increases the temperature gauge on matches when he feels the game needs to change; whilst former Barcelona legend and England great Gary Lineker claims Ramos should have received three yellow cards on three separate occasions during the match.
Just like the title of Clint Eastwood’s famous Western, Ramos has a good, bad and ugly side to his game.
Many football experts would argue Juventus veteran Giorgio Chiellini is the best defender in the world but not the Italian himself, who rated the Spaniard as the standout central defender in the game today.
Ramos is a winner, he captains both Real Madrid and Spain. He has won every major trophy at both club and international level.
At Real Madrid he has lifted the following trophies: 4 UEFA Champions League, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 4 FIFA Club World Cups, 1 International Champions Cup, 4 La Liga titles, 2 Copa del Rey’s and 3 Spanish Super Cups.
For Spain he won the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa, and back to back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
Despite all the medals Ramos has won over the course of his stellar career, there are many records he holds which would take pride of place on any Hollywood villain’s rap sheet.
Ramos has received the most bookings in Real Madrid history, the most bookings in La Liga history, the most bookings in Champions League history and the most bookings in the Spanish national team history. Now that is quite a record.
He was able to go a whole calendar year without being sent off but was shown a red card after receiving two yellow cards in Real Madrid’s 2 – 1 loss to Girona. That was his 25th red card for Real Madrid alone.
Such was the arrogance of the 32-year-old defender who missed the home leg against Ajax Amsterdam on purpose believing he would be free to play in both legs of the Champions League quarterfinals after he deliberately got himself booked in the first leg of the second round pairings.
Already sitting on two yellow cards, Ramos received his third yellow card which automatically triggers a one match suspension. UEFA were not impressed and added a second match to his suspension.
His farcical yellow card in the first leg came back to bite both Ramos and Real Madrid on the backside as they were humiliated 4 – 1 at home by Ajax in the second leg, Real Madrid’s heaviest home defeat in Champions League history.
The Spaniard has a reputation of intimidating his opponents by using every trick, tactic, part of his body to get into their heads, upset them, get them sent off and inflict some sort of injury upon them. A raised elbow here, a trailing foot there, anything in his arsenal to walk off the field a winner.
In the 2017 Champions League final against Juventus, Ramos made the most of an innocuous incident with Juan Cuadrado, throwing himself to the ground, leaving the referee no option but to send off the Colombian after picking up his second yellow card.
Liverpool fans the world over are still lamenting last season’s Champions League final in which Ramos got tangled up with Mohamed Salah, grabbing his arm as they both crashed to the floor. Salah left the game in tears with a shoulder injury, Ramos left the field with a fourth Champions League trophy.
His club and Spanish teammates would argue a leader and defender like Ramos is exactly the type of player you want playing on your side. Many opponents may claim he is a blight on the game and should be punished more heavily for his misdemeanours, clumsy or intentional. Messi would testify to that.
Sergio Ramos divides opinions like no other footballer on the planet, love him or loathe him, he definitely is one of a kind.
sergio ramos, real madrid, uefa champions league, la liga