Captain of the greatest team in the world. The cornerstone of Real Madrid’s defense. A preposterous goalscoring record in the most important games that puts the best strikers to shame. The greatest center back in the world. The name is Sergio Ramos.
You either love him or you hate him. Very few defenders have garnished as much hatred as Ramos has. He has one of the most infamous reputations in all of football, but it is just one part of his package. Along with his rash challenges, bad boy antics, and big-time goals, Sergio Ramos drives his team with unmitigated determination and force. Regardless of how you rate him, he is a significant figure: his recklessness only contributes to his extremely enthralling style of play. Ramos wears his heart on his sleeve and dons the Real Madrid badge with an inexplicable amount of pride, willing to do whatever it takes to produce a result for his side.
Sergio Ramos has won almost every trophy imaginable during his stay with Real Madrid. For a €27M fee back in 2005, the teenager arrived at Madrid from Sevilla. By 2011 he had evolved into a center back, and he has remained a mainstay in Madrid’s defense ever since. His value to Madrid over the years has surpassed any monetary value, and his importance to the squad is undeniable. An indispensable part of Zidane’s XI, Ramos remains a core part of Madrid’s future.
An object of unremitting criticism, Ramos has transformed himself into the leader of Real Madrid. A captain who exercises an iron fist on the pitch, he makes his presence felt with his dominant physicality. His robust style of play and fearless defending often set the tone for his Madrid team. Immense defensive performances in vital Champions League matches have been equally matched with decisive goals against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. His set-piece wizardry is like an enigma for his opposition; a problem that seems to have no answer. Mental strength coupled with sheer determination; physical strength coupled with heading accuracy; willpower coupled with self-belief: nobody quite knows how Sergio Ramos does it. The intricacies of his set-piece dominance overpower all forms of marking: zonal, man-to-man, and anything else opposition teams draw up to stop the 31-year-old Spaniard. No center back in Europe’s top 5 leagues can match Ramos’ goal tally (8), and they certainly are nowhere near to matching the significance of his goals.
The anchor of an attacking-oriented defense that features two of the best outside backs in the world in Marcelo and Carvajal, Ramos often finds himself isolated in the center of the back line. He is the grand organizer of the defense, a role he has assumed over the years due to the star-studded Madrid attack rarely occupying defensive positions. Although his recklessness is often a magnet for criticism, it is a distinct feature in Ramos’ game. An early foul at the halfway line may brandish a yellow card from the referee, but it also serves to interrupt promising counterattacks and disrupt the flow of the opposition. His positional awareness can grant him a millisecond advantage over attackers, allowing him to step in and make quick interceptions on outlet passes. With technical skills and passing prowess not usually seen with center backs, Ramos turns these interceptions into chances, quick-starting a counter-counterattack that strikes while the opposition is still transitioning to attack. As he intercepts the ball, Ramos releases a pass to the various assets in Madrid’s lethal attack, often resulting in a goal.
Luiz Suarez, Thomas Müller, and Sergio Agüero have all admitted that Sergio Ramos is the most difficult defender they’ve faced throughout their respective career. He has been an intergral part of a Real Madrid squad that has won 3 Champions League trophies in only 4 years. Until he can walk no more, Sergio Ramos will serve Real Madrid to the utmost highest order, a loyal servant who is an embodiment of what it means to be a Madridista.