‘Spain couldn’t go on forever’

Sergio Ramos has looked back on Spain’s disastrous 2014 World Cup and suggested such a disappointment was inevitable.

La Roja went to Brazil as defending champions but lost their first two games, to the Netherlands and Costa Rica, and were eliminated at the group stage.

“It’s true that it was a very intense year, full of very gruelling games, and perhaps we weren’t in the best shape when we got to Brazil,” Ramos said in an interview with FIFA’s official website.

“It’s also clear that we’d been successful for several years, and you can’t keep winning matches and titles forever. We were able to enjoy a unique period and an extraordinary generation of footballers.

“We were crowned world champions and were twice European champions. Let’s see if anyone else can match that. But football’s a game and sooner or later the day that we would lose, that we’d get knocked out [of a major tournament], had to come.

“Now we have to focus again on the future, on a new group of players with a plenty of ambition and the drive to become competitive once more, to be a team that believes that it can win things.”

Ramos confirmed he carried on watching the tournament even after Spain went home, but said he did so with mixed feelings.

“I enjoy [football] and so for that reason I’m drawn to watching the best players performing at an event like the World Cup,” he added.

“Clearly there’s a degree of frustration. But then, in part, you feel happy for your club-mates who are still involved, defending the colours of other national teams.

“But yes, I felt a bit hurt, sad and frustrated to be back home and not there any longer.”

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