Sergio Ramos is at a crossroads in his career. The Andalusian centre-back is a man who prides himself on how he operates; confidently, decisively and with a bulletproof self-assurance. The problem now, however, is that he’s being questioned by club and country like never before at this moment in time. That armour of his has been compromised.
Ramos joined Real Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 at the age of 19, the only Spaniard signed during Florentino Perez’s famed Galactico spending spree. Initially a right-back, he matured with time to become the starting centre-back for both Madrid and La Roja, eventually hitting unparalleled heights.
Ramos has won La Liga five times, the Champions League four times, the European Championships twice and the small matter of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He’s made his name as a clutch player, the heartbeat of the team and its undisputed leader and alpha male. He’s produced two documentaries about his life and career as well as moments like the crucial last-minute equaliser he scored against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final, the sliding doors moment in Madrid’s modern history.
Now, at 35, he’s not what he was. Injury has severely disrupted his season, especially the second half, and Luis Enrique decided to leave him of out his Spanish squad going into Euro 2020 despite the Andalusian’s protestations that he was match fit. His contract at Madrid is up in a matter of weeks, but Florentino and the club don’t like like they’re going to give in to what he wants.
Ramos’ desire throughout the negotiations was always for a multi-year option, while the club wanted to only offer him a one-year extension. At the time of writing, it seems that they’re not going to bend to his will, and that the only scenario whereas he could stay at the Santiago Bernabeu would be if he conceded defeat and signed a one-year deal.
Were that not to happen, all observers of Spanish football would watch his next step with keen interest. Might Ramos still hold a suitable cache to join another elite European side, like Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, and prove that he’s still got it and Madrid were wrong to let him go? Will he retire into the sunset at someone like Inter Miami? Or will he return to where it all started, to Sevilla, and close out his career by winning over the affection of fans who despise him and bringing a major title to the Sanchez-Pizjuan?