The documents and checks required to make the transfer from Sevilla to Real Madrid were provided by the brother of Sergio Ramos The Spanish association had 10 minutes to cross, on August 31, 2005. 10 minutes separated the deal from the cancellation. What if he was stuck in a traffic jam? What if he had a puncture? What if not all faxes would arrive on time as in the famous case of David de Haa? No one knows the answer, but history would have changed. Ramos has significantly defined Real’s last 16 years. Without him in the white uniform, Spanish and European football would have looked different.
The signing was postponed until the last minute because Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido stood on his hind legs and demanded to pay the release clause – that is, spend 27 million euros on a 19-year-old who has completed just one season in the Premier League. For Florentino Perez, it was a very unusual move. When he devised the “Zidane and Fabon” policy, he planned to acquire superstars and promote local youth from academia. Therefore, Spanish players did not come from outside at the beginning of his term. Ramos was the first. He bought Julio Baptista that summer from Sevilla as early as July and did not hesitate for a moment, but he wanted to bargain on the brake – only to find it irrelevant.
10 minutes to close the transfer window
Nor was Ramos himself convinced that this was a wise move at such an early stage in his career. He’s been a Sevilla fan since he can remember. The promotion to the first staff of the Andalusians was a dream come true for him, and a quick departure was not trivial. In June 2005, when he was in the Spanish national team’s camp as part of the World Cup qualifiers, he was asked about a possible departure and replied: “I’m not thinking about it at the moment. Real and Barcelona players are not talking to me about it.” Indeed, it was balanced. Barça showed a similar interest to Real, and the player himself had no preference – certainly not outwardly. Had Joaquin Caparos, whom Ramos defined as the most important coach of his life, not resigned from Sevilla at the time – there is a reasonable chance that the brakeman would have preferred to stay at his youth club for at least one more season. But Caparos left, Del Nido longed to get all the money, and Peres was eventually convinced.
10 minutes to close the transfer window, it was completed – and the media noise was great. Ramos became the most expensive Spaniard ever, and the sixth most expensive player in Real history. This was not a trivial matter, and the reviews were not always forgiving to say the least. Two red cards he had already suffered in the first month in his first team did not help much, but even then it was clear that Ramos was made of a special material. He returned a war to the press, not just shutting his mouth for a moment, and was not ashamed to play it even in the ego-laden dressing room. At the same time, he eagerly studied one of the greatest.
Next to Zidane and Cannavaro in the locker room
Zinedine Zidane was still there in Ramos’ first season at the Santiago Bernabeu. In fact, because of Zizu, the young Spaniard received the number 4 shirt and not the number 5 he wore in Seville. Their closets were nearby, and the brake talked a lot with the Frenchman who made sure to be generally quiet. Immediately afterwards, in the summer of 2006, the number 5 man who defeated Zizu in the World Cup final inherited the shirt and became Ramos’ mentor – Fabio Cannavaro. The Italian greatly appreciated his young counterpart, even though he has repeatedly claimed that he is even more effective as a right-back thanks to his excellent offensive abilities throughout the wing. Remember the years of Ramos on the right in the national team, while Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique played together in the center? Real also often used this position in his early seasons.
At that time it was not yet guessed what heights he would reach, but expectations were certainly high. Ramos was talked about in terms of “Fernando Hierro’s heir”, and as early as 2008 he was asked seriously in an interview with the SS newspaper about his chances of winning the Golden Ball. “It’s not impossible. There’s nothing that is impossible. If you work hard and sacrifice a lot, you may strive to win everything. Right now, there are a lot of better players than me, but it’s one of the dreams. Canbarro won the Golden Ball, and I talked to him about it.” .
Stumbles only boosted self-confidence
It was this attitude that made him a legend in Real Madrid and in world football. Ramos has never been the most talented stopper in the world, he made a lot of mistakes on the pitch, absorbed a commercial amount of tickets, and was a partner in many and varied humiliations – in the Champions League and especially against Barcelona. He was on the pitch when Real suffered a six in the Clásico in 2009, and also when they suffered a five in 2010, then also was sent off during injuries to provide an appropriate finishing chord for the show. But all the stumbling blocks did not make him doubt his abilities. On the contrary – they only strengthened it and ignited the passion. With each passing month, Ramos has become an increasingly dominant player at the club, making sure to stand his ground.
Thus, for example, the ongoing conflict with Jose Mourinho was created, in which Ramos did not hesitate to slap our coach: “You have never been a player, and you do not understand how players make decisions on the pitch.” In that battle he was on the same side with captain Iker Casillas, but while the goalkeeper lost his shares and was eventually forced to leave in 2015, Ramos’ status only intensified – and he took advantage of it to win an even oilier contract in the fight against Perez, using an offer he held Allegedly from Manchester United.
The fateful gate that Desima brought
This is how it is when you score one of the most important goals in the history of the club. “Desima”, the coveted tenth title in the Champions League in 2014, is written in gold letters in his name. In the semi-final, Ramos scored twice against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, and that too was founding, but in the final itself – when everything was already lost at the Light Stadium in Lisbon – he appeared on a savior standard. Casillas ‘mistake led to Diego Godin’s goal in the first half, and Atletico Madrid were already on their way to a phenomenal double, but then וס Ramos’ shot two minutes and 47 seconds into injury time changed everything. Because there is nothing that is impossible. Casillas kissed him and whispered in his ear, “You are the real boss.”
And so the dynasty began, as Ramos swung the Champions Cup three more times in a row as captain – in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In all the finals in which he took part, he received yellow cards, except for the last one in which he controversially injured Muhammad Salah and was not punished by the referee. For Real fans, the controversial moment only added to his credit. At this point, there was no need to bolster his image as the ultimate warrior, but perhaps it gave the brake itself a sense of invulnerability.
“I would sign myself for life”
Throughout his years at Real Madrid, Ramos has allowed himself almost everything. He is the only one, apart from Cristiano Ronaldo, who waged media wars against Peres, with whom he had a love-hate relationship. The president admired the captain’s personality, but at the same time disliked it because Ramos posed a real threat to his absolute control of the club. And since 2018, unflattering evidence has begun to accumulate against Ramos. For example, the choice to document the series that Amazon filmed about him reacting in the stands in the 2019 Champions League rematch against Ajax, from which he was suspended for intentionally picking up yellow in the first game, was not brilliant in retrospect – because Real were defeated 4-1 and relegated. That summer, he tried to arrange a pay rise through a demand to leave for the Chinese league, and then – when asked what he would have done with his own contract had he been Real’s president, he replied: “I would have signed Ramos for life.”
It was probably a little too much in terms of reward. Maybe Ramos got used to stretching the rope, not realizing it might tear in the end. He was used to pushing the president into a corner in tough negotiations, only to come out with his hand on the top, but in an era of the Corona crisis, when Real’s financial data and the Superliga project crashed to pieces, the president’s willingness to surrender was lower. After signing David Alaba as a free agent, he did not really see the need for a 35-year-old stopper who missed months long due to injury, demanded a new two-year contract, and at the same time dared to publicly advise other faculty players to refuse a pay cut. And so, this saga ended in departure. His contract was simply not extended – that was the club’s most elegant way of saying goodbye.
Right time to say hello
As far as Ramos is concerned, that may be for the better. Although he stated that he would have preferred to end his career in Real, recently the momentum has been negative for him. His status as an eternal legend in the Spanish capital is guaranteed, but now he also has time for a fascinating challenge in another place of his choice. And while fans feel a pinch in their heart when they see him leave, they need to internalize that this is the best way to say thank you to him for the great 16 years – and move on.
“I can not imagine Real without Sergio Ramos,” said new-old coach Carlo Ancelotti. But it is precisely Ramos’ motto – “nothing is impossible” – that should guide the team at the moment. Everything is possible in football, and the team can be built even without it. Other characters will fill his place, in their own style and in their own way. One thing is for sure – it will be very difficult to find a 19-year-old boy who will cost 27 million euros and become a myth like him. In terms of cost-benefit, Ramos is one of Real’s best signings of all time.
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