“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”, is one very famous saying amongst football supporters, players and most importantly Coaches. The most successful sides will be known for their pure dominance in midfield or the number of clinical attackers they have up front, yet the centre-backs who are cool, calm and collected in their own half receive very little credit.
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos comes into this category, an individual who can be brought up in the media for the wrong reasons, from his aggressive behaviour off the ball to his intense battles with the opposition. On the other hand, he has been a monumental player for club and country over the last decade, as shown when he wears his heart on his sleeve and the fact that he takes no prisoners at all.
Since making his move from Sevilla to Madrid in 2005, the defender has gone on to complete over 550 appearances for Los Blancos, while winning four Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and two Copa del Rey. Without his leadership and tendency to score crucial goals at the end of matches, none of this would have actually been possible for the capital giants, who are now a favoured tip for sports betting experts as a result.
Despite the fact Zinedine Zidane’s squad is ageing season by season and that his backline has a few weaknesses of sorts, the 32-year-old has kept the defence strong and solid on his own by giving regular instructions to his centre-back partner Raphael Varane. Also, when he isn’t in the line-up, the tesm look lost without him, no matter if they are on and off the ball, as they struggle to play out from the back and are blown away when they are under pressure.
Throughout the 2017-18 campaign, Ramos completed the second-most successful short passes and fourth-most successful long passes compared to all the centre-backs in La Liga, despite only making 25 League appearances during the season. Given the individual quality and squad depth that Madrid have under Zidane, there is no margin for error when it comes to style of play, otherwise the opposition will be able to sense a weakness and use it to their advantage.
Although he grew up being a Sevilla supporter, given they were his local club, the Spaniard has been a devout madridista since joining the club, showing where his heart actually lies. If any proof is required, look no further than his actions after the second leg of Los Merengues’ Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, when he joined the fans to proudly sing and chant with them after the final whistle.
More importantly, however, the Madrid captain has plenty of redeeming traits. The ones that stands are is his never-say-die attitude and huge character, which stays consistent from the first game of a season to the last one. It’s the main reason why he remains superior to the other centre-backs in Europe.
At the end of the day, when he retires from being a professional footballer in a few years’ time, Sergio Ramos will go down as a Real Madrid great and a legend for the Spanish national team. No matter what else is in store for the Seville-born star on the pitch, he will without a doubt be recognised and seen as one of the most complete central defenders of this era.