Every week at The Center Circle, we are highlighting a different player in a feature we call “On the Spot”. We’ll take a look at superstars, underrated gems, aging veterans, and young unknowns who should be known. We’ll peruse their club and international careers, taking note of their teams, statistics, and highlight reels. We’ll illuminate their strengths and weaknesses and comment on their personalties and reputations. It will be some fun. If there is anyone you want to see “On the Spot”, feel free to comment below.
For Real Madrid, there have been very few constants in the past few seasons. Money has flowed, managers have changed, keepers have been benched, and trophies have been a bit harder to come by. However, Madrid seem to be back on their best form and the one player that HAS been a constant through everything that we just mentioned is their Energizer bunny central defender, Sergio Ramos. A World Cup winner and Euro winner (TWICE!) with Spain, Ramos has long been considered one of the most dominant right-backs of the last decade and his play as a central defender has also been stalwart. There are very few defenders that can claim his type of versatility, and that is certainly what makes Ramos a special talent. If you have somehow missed the Spaniard’s career up to this point, that HAS to change.
Born in 1986, Sergio Ramos Garcia began his footballing career with the youth squads for Sevilla (the area where he was born). During the 2002/03 season, Ramos would start making appearances for Sevilla Atletico and would quickly be moved up to the senior squad at Sevilla, making his debut on the 1st of February in 2004. For this part of his career, Ramos would be employed in the right-back position and this is the position where he would make his name.
After 41 matches with Sevilla (including scoring a goal against future employers Real), Madrid had seen enough and had decided that Ramos was to be their defensive future. By means of about 23 million Euros, Ramos joined the Madrid giants as a 19 year-old and would make his debut on the September 10th, 2005 against Vanderlei Luxemburgo and would score his first goal for Los Blancos almost exactly five months later. When Ramos joined Madrid, he started as a central defender and would be shifted out wide after Madrid brought in some more defensive talent. Then, in the 2009/10 season, he would start making the shift back to the middle of defense…and so it began…
Ramos has definitely seen success with Madrid, but he has fallen slight victim to the growth of Barcelona as Real would have definitely brought home more trophies if their biggest rivals had not become so impressive in the late 2000′s. Still, three La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, and a Spanish SuperCopa have all been obtained during Sergio’s tenure at the Bernabeu and the current squad seems likely to obtain several more trophies before too long.
Having made over 350 appearances at his club, Ramos is certainly one of the biggest faces associated with the club. Couple his ties with Madrid to his ability to shift into a central defender role at such an impressive club and it is easy to see why Ramos is held in such high regard at his club and in world football. Despite his inability to take a decent penalty shot (as demonstrated against Bayern in the Champions League), Ramos seems likely to be a Madrid fixture for quite some time to come.
Although Ramos is currently 27, he made his debut for La Furia Roja in March of 2005 and was the youngest player to be handed a debut for Spain (a record since broken by Cesc Fabregas). Once again, Ramos began his career at this level as a right-back and has only recently transitioned into a central defender’s position (Euro 2012). With that being said, Ramos has experienced more international success than most players will experience in the entirety of their lifetime and he still has time on his side to take part in another European Championship and seems likely that he could feature in the 2018 World Cup!
Ramos has already made over 100 appearances for Spain and his versatility means that he will accrue many more before his calls it quits. The upcoming World Cup will probably see Ramos deployed as a central defender, but it would not be surprising if Del Bosque gave the forward thinking Spaniard some time elsewhere. Considering that Carles Puyol is 35 and that Pique has been exposed a bit with Barcelona this season, Ramos will definitely be a first-choice on the starting 11, but it would be a bit out of character if he is not partnered with a Barcelona defender in the middle.
While Spain are entering into this tournament ranked at the top of the FIFA world rankings (considering they have won the last three MAJOR tournaments in the world, it seems unsurprising), the build-up to the 2014 World Cup has almost painted Spain as a team with only an outside chance (crazy, right?). Considering that their midfield will definitely be impressive, as they always are, their fate will rest on the competency of the defense against the other top squads in the world. If Ramos and Spain snag another trophy, he will certainly join a squad that will go down as the greatest international squad of all-time.
Style of Play
Ramos is a smart player that has an amazing aerial ability from set-pieces. He can run forever and has the speed to keep up with any of Europe’s fastest attackers. However, despite having the drive and quickness to be an elite defender, Ramos has recently had his conduct called into question. On the flip-side of his success, Ramos has accrued 18 red cards during his time at Madrid and most of his fans will be hoping that his advancing age starts to bring a much needed calm and savvy to his disciplinary record.
Off the Pitch
Any follower of Ramos knows that he is very passionate about his friends and has been known to come to the defense of other players when it comes to issues with management or other teams. Ramos once famously wore Mesut Ozil’s kit underneath his own to show support for the German when he felt that both he and Ozil were being slighted by then-manager Jose Mourinho. Besides his fierce loyalty, Ramos is also set to become a father in the next few months! Girlfriend Pilar Rubio announced that the pair were pregnant in November of 2013 and Ramos will soon be celebrating with common “I just had a baby” moves…
Sergio Ramos is only 27 and has accomplished more than most players have accomplished in much longer careers. Considering the talent of the current Spain squad and the impressive growth of this Madrid team, one would assume that he will be adding another trophy or two to the cabinet sooner rather than later. Plus, Nike have made sure to use Ramos as the face of their Tiempo campaign…and Nike tend to only use their best players when advertising for any of their silos. Expect Ramos to be a big Nike selling point this summer in Brazil and to be associated with anything Tiempo-related in the build-up.