The Real Madrid captain will be present for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea on Wednesday. A news that falls rather well, since his club must win in England to reach the final.
By Anne-Elise Carreau
The return of the captain to the Madrid squad is a real relief for Zidane. He finds the captain of his team and one of the pillars of his central defense, in the absence of Varane. The man with 22 trophies (including four Champions League and five Liga) with the white jersey will be able to share his experience and help his teammates in the quest for victory at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel also underlined his importance at a press conference: “Whether Ramos is playing or not, it makes a big difference for Real. He is the captain of the most successful team in Europe in recent years. ”
A return more than appreciated for a decisive match
Beyond his role in defense, Sergio Ramos is also renowned for his role of “goleador” in the last four of the Champions League. In four Champions League games this season, he has already scored two goals and delivered an assist. Faced with a rough English defense, he could speak his very good aerial game on set pieces. Or score on a penalty if the opportunity arises, he who is Real Madrid’s regular shooter and who excels in the exercise, having managed 85% of his career penalties (30/35).
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Sacred good news for Zidane and Real. With the injuries of Raphaël Varane and the two right-backs Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez, the French technician could opt for a defense to 3. Ramos joining Militao and Nacho who ensured in his absence. From the top of his 35 years, the Spanish veteran should speak his leadership and guide the hinge, being used to these high-stakes matches. Valverde and Ferland Mendy or Marcelo could complete the rearguard in the roles of pistons.
Before stepping on the lawn of Stamford Bridge, Sergio Ramos will not have played since March 16, 2021, against Atalanta in the knockout stages of the Champions League. He had also scored, before going out on injury. Chaining muscle injuries since the start of the season, he had undergone meniscus surgery in February and then tested positive for Covid. Since then, he has not played any match and only resumed group training last Friday. There is a legitimate doubt about his ability to keep pace in a match of this level.
Able to play against Osasuna this Saturday (Real 2-0 victory), he had been preserved by Zidane, and removed from the group before the confrontation against Chelsea in the first leg (1-1). One truth is clear, however: the legendary captain is less essential to the team today. As of December 2020, Real Madrid had lost eight of the last ten games Ramos had missed in the Champions League. Since then, Militao and Nacho have gained momentum, and the Merengues have not lost any C1 game, despite the absence of Ramos. Coincidence or coincidence? Still, Real seem able to live today without Sergio Ramos.
The Last dance?
At the end of the contract at the end of the season, the one who has been at Real since 2005 has still not extended. With the rise of Militao and Nacho, and his many injuries, Real Madrid no longer want to keep their captain at any cost. This second leg against Chelsea could be the opportunity to show the people of Madrid that they still need him. Or to sign a last performance before a departure in June.
Sergio Ramos’ future leaves no one indifferent to the Bernabeu side. Confirmation of a subject that agitates the debates. And will say a lot about the future policy of the club in a very eventful summer announced. Fernando Hierro, former Real Madrid defender, has put pressure on current management and especially Florentino Perez, saying in an interview for Goal : “I would like him to continue. For all that he is and all that he stands for. And that he ends his career here. “ Yet in the capital of Madrid we are already thinking of the post-Ramos era. And the names of potential targets are pouring in. The latest, Jules Koundé, the Frenchman who made a name for himself after his great performances in Seville. Not to mention David Alaba who should sign freely at Real at the end of the season. With a contract with the same salary (12 million euros) as… Sergio Ramos.