Arch enemies they used to be, Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi. In the many El Classicós in which they met, the Spaniard has caught the chin of the Argentine period with his shoulder. He has deployed slidings with two feet at the risk of breaking the expensive Argentine legs. Not once, no over and over, perhaps with the intention of scaring Messi. Or making him impotent, because some of Ramos’ tackles come out at crotch height, even as the ball rolls on the ground. The number of times Ramos has hit Messi has dropped his leg to trip him is impossible to count. He threw the ball away when he should have just give it to Messi for a throw-in . Swept away his angrily pointing finger. And then there always is Ramos’ waving gesture: get up man, nothing to worry about.
Conversely, Messi has exposed Ramos. With sharp tackle-backs in which he recaptured the ball between the legs of the Spaniard. By dribbling past him like a pillar of salt. Once the Spaniard started a furious chase rush, missed Messi with his challenge, but accidentally kicks a fellow player over. And yes, Messi also sometimes hit Ramos consciously, or let himself fall theatrically when Ramos was once too slow to hit him.
Now they are teammates at Paris St. Germain. Maybe even some kind of friends. The Spaniard takes the initiative for a hug in the gym that has been filmed. Sergio Ramos has leaked in the Spanish newspaper El Pais that he would welcome the Argentine to sleep at his home, if he had not wanted to stay in a hotel when he came to Paris. Apparently Messi has said thanks, but no thanks.
“It’s a privilege to get older,” said Sergio Ramos at the end of March before Spain’s match against Kosovo. ‘I’m happy with it, because with the years comes the experience. And I’m glad I can still be there.’ Sergio Ramos didn’t get a single red card last season, but he hasn’t played much either. At the euros he did not play at all. Football fans will not believe that the 35-year-old Spaniard has suddenly become calm and wise.
Ramos proved just how difficult it is to control yourself recently, in the game against Manchester City in the 2019-20 season. First, Ramos is beaten in the air by Gabriel Jesus, even though the Brazilian is almost a decimeter shorter than the Spaniard. Just under ten minutes later, Ramos again fails to stop the Brazilian. Jesus goes down and the Italian referee sends him off the field. It is his fourth red card in the Champions League, a record he shares with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edgar Davids.
With 26 red cards in total, Ramos is by far the most aggressive footballer of all time in Europe. And then there are all those cases where he should have shown red. A false elbow against Messi in the 1-0 lost Clássico, after which everyone at Barcelona is angry with him. ‘A clear display of aggression’, Gerard Pique judged afterwards. “He should have been sent off, but that didn’t happen.” José Mourinho, watching the game from the stands, defended Ramos afterwards: “I think he thought the tension needed to be increased a bit. Because until that moment the duels were much too soft.’
One more example of aggression is Ramos’ attack with a judo grip against Salah at the start of the Champions League final against Liverpool. Salah’s collarbone is broken and the Reds’ spirit as well. Just before Loris Karius makes the major mistake that will cost him his career, Ramos also elbows him in the face. “In ten years, no one will talk about the way we lost,” said a glum Jorgen Klopp afterwards.
The second yellow card that Ramos took out of arrogance in the away match against Ajax in 2018 is also historic. Ramos thought he could miss the match in Real Madrid and then wanted to start with a clean sheet, but then had to watch Ajax play the Madrillas from the stands. turned off.
In Europe Ramos aggression is unparalleled, but in South America there are even worse cases. Colombian Gerardo Bedoya is still in the Guinness Book of World Records with a total of 46 red cards.
Sergio Ramos has the Virgin Mary on his arm and a lion on his back. A series of numbers on his knuckles refer to his jersey numbers and winning goals. He got married in the cathedral in Seville, where Christopher Columbus is also buried, and afterwards he celebrated in his own private domain ‘Happiness of SR4’, a reference to the regular jersey number of the Spanish central defender. Guests were required to hand in their cell phone or camera and temporarily get a unicorn tattoo.
A fighter for his team? Maybe, but also during training Sergio is not able to keep himself under control. In training, he punched Sergio Reguilon twice in the face after his teammate accidentally hit him in the face. Ramos then apologized via Twitter, which was appreciated by his followers. They are not very convincing, those excuses.
A tattoo on his neck probably reflects how Sergio really feels about accidents like these. A Lion Never Loses Over The Opinion of Sheep. Lions are superior to sheep, so they don’t care what others think of them.
Megalomaniac? Dangerous? Perhaps, but his compatriots adore Ramos. Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas recently revealed what he whispered in Ramos’ ear as he came running, crying to his captain after Ramos scored the 94th-minute equalizer for Real Madrid in the Champions League final against Atlético Madrid, the prelude to the victory: ‘Eres el puto amo’: you are the f***ing boss. Of course, this moment is also referred to on the body of Ramos. Somewhere there was still room to celebrate this memorable minute: ’90+’ is written on one of his knuckles.