Sergio Ramos Garcia, a name that evokes different emotions in players, pundits, managers and fans alike. Despised for the intense aggressive manner in which he imposes himself on opponents and loved for his technical expertise, athleticism and ability to excel both defensively and offensively, he is a true definition of a man loved and loathed in equal measure.
Ramos was signed by Real Madrid from Sevilla in the summer of 2005 for 27 million euros and has been a mainstay figure ever since. He was right-back then before Jose Mourinho decided to move him centrally, a position where his performances went a notch higher.
Whilst attacking players get all the plaudits for teams’ successes, the contribution and importance of defensive players is more often than not overlooked. But football has always shown us time without number that a lethal offence only will not result into unprecedented success.
The great Sir Alex Ferguson once said that attack wins you matches but defence wins you titles.
Here are some facts that make Ramos a player worth the accolade interchanged between Messi and Ronaldo over the past decade.
Consistency and Big game player
Consistency and standing out in important fixtures is key to any player who wishes to be regarded as ‘The Best”. Sergio has been performing at the top level for both club and country for over a decade now.
He has stood the test of time and established himself as not only the best center-backs of his generation but also as one of the finest to have graced the game.
The 34-year old is never one to shy off from the limelight during a big occasion. He has always risen to occasion whenever majority of the big boys have come calling. In the view of the fact that he is the longest serving member and captain for both Madrid and Spain underlines what a crucial figure he is both on and off the field.
The former Sevilla man has been the backbone of some of the greatest displays produced by the most successful team in history.
Scorer of important goals and strong mentality
Ramos has breathed life into the central defender position by normalizing himself as an offensive presence. If the phrase ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’ had a face, then he definitely would be it. The heartbeat of Los Blancos has scored twice on two different occasions against Cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in the champions league final, one a 93rd minute equaliser as Madrid won on both finals.
After the lock-down, the bullish centre-back has scored multiple vital goals that have put his team on course to win the La Liga title. He has scored 120 goals and is the highest scoring defender in history.
The elite mentality of a serial winner makes him not only a hard defender to get past but also exceptional when it comes to influencing play at the most critical of times.
Even though Ramos doesn’t have the cleanest of reputations, his resume is certainly impressive. His success, records and individual accolades are the envy of many.
At club level he has won 21 major honours and captained the Los Blancos through their greatest historical period between 2016-2018 where they won 3 successive UEFA Champions league titles, 3 UEFA Super cups, 3 club world cups and 1 La Liga title.
He has been named to the FIFPro World11 ten times; a record for a defender and third most of all-time. He has also been selected to the UEFA team of the year 8 times; a record for a defender and third most of all-time. He has been named La Liga’s best defender a record five times.
The Madridista was also part of the dazzling Spanish golden generation that ruled international football between 2008- 2014, winning 2 consecutive Euros and a world cup. He was named to the FIFA world cup dream team in 2010 and UEFA Euro team of the tournament in 2012.
He is the youngest player to record 100 apperances for spain, the most capped spanish player in history and the tenth-highest all-time scorer.
The jury is out on whether the Spaniard is a ‘dirty player’ or not. Fact is that the Madrid captain will go down in history as one of the best players to ever don a football jersey.