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16 Years of El Capitan: Ramos at Real Madrid

Sergio Ramos will depart Real Madrid in the summer after 16 seasons with the club, during which time he played 671 games and scored 101 goals. Here we take a look at Ramos' illustrious 16 years at Real Madrid.

Last updated: 19.06.2021
16 Years Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid

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Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid's legendary captain, will leave after a spectacular, trophy-laden career spanning 671 games and 16 seasons, the club announced on Wednesday. The centre-back's contract expires at the end of June, and despite suggestions that the club was willing to extend it provided he agreed to a pay cut, he has decided to leave. The news follows an injury-plagued 2020/21 season in which Ramos, 35, played in only 21 games in all competitions, the fewest in his 16-year Madrid career. Since the beginning of the year, he has only played five times.

The farewell gathering was attended by the player's family, which included his wife and four children, as well as club president Florentino Perez. A video of Ramos playing and lifting titles with Real Madrid was aired. Sergio Ramos has stated that he "never intended to leave Real Madrid" and that he would have accepted a one-year contract extension from the club had it not expired. Ramos will be a free agent after June 30, with several big European clubs reportedly interested in signing him, including Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

"I never wanted to leave Real Madrid, I always wanted to stay here," Ramos said. "In the last few months, the club made me an offer of one year, with a pay cut. I want to highlight that money has never been a problem, the president knows that. 


"It wasn't a financial problem. They offered me one year, I wanted two. I wanted calm and continuity for my family. In the latest conversations, I accepted the offer with a pay cut, and I was told there was no longer an offer. I was told that despite having given the OK to the proposal, it had an expiry date and I didn't realise. It surprised me."

Ramos is without a doubt one of the best defenders of all time, but when he was injured near the conclusion of the 2021 season, fans got a glimpse of life without him. In his absence, Éder Milito, Nacho, and Raphael Varane played admirably, even reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League, something Real Madrid hasn't been able to do in years. Let’s take a look at his career at Real Madrid:

Ramos' career at Real Madrid

Ramos joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2005 after graduating from Sevilla's development academy and spending two seasons with the senior team. During Florentino Pérez's first spell as Real president, he was the only Spanish player brought in. Ramos was given the number 4 shirt at the club, which had previously been worn by Fernando Hierro. Ramos started his career as a centre back, but he was also utilised as an emergency defensive midfielder on occasion. In the 2007–08 season, however, he was moved back to right back with the signing of Metzelder and Pepe. Ramos scored five goals in the 2006–07 season, including one in the El Clásico, as Real Madrid won a record 30th league title.

Ramos was named one of Real Madrid's four captains at the start of the 2009–10 season. He made his 200th appearance for Los Blancos against Villarreal on February 21, 2010. Despite these remarkable achievements, Real Madrid failed to win any silverware throughout the season. Ramos made his debut in the 2011 Copa del Rey final, a 1–0 victory over Barcelona in Valencia. During the subsequent victory procession, while celebrating on the top of the club's bus, he misplaced the cup, which fell under the vehicle's wheels, causing the trophy to be dented. After a four-year wait, Real Madrid won the league title with a record of 100 points the next season, and he was the player with the most balls recovered in his squad, finishing third overall.

After a four-year wait, Real Madrid won the league with a record of 100 points, and he was the player with the most balls recovered in his squad. Ramos scored two headers in four minutes in a 4–0 away win against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals on April 29, 2014, giving Madrid a 5–0 aggregate score and a return to the final for the first time in twelve years. He scored in the 93rd minute of the Champions League final against Atlético Madrid to draw the game 1–1, and Real Madrid went on to win 4–1 in extra time to collect 'La Decima,' their tenth title in the competition; he was also named MOTM by the crowd.

The next season, he scored in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup semi-final and final, and was named Player of the Match in both as Real Madrid won the tournament in Morocco. Ramos was also named the tournament's player of the year and was awarded the Golden Ball. In August 2015, Ramos signed a new five-year contract with Real Madrid, linking him to the club until 2020. After Casillas' transfer to Porto, he was promoted to captain. Real Madrid competed in the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final against Atlético Madrid. Ramos scored in a final for the second time, this time putting Real up in the first half. He was only the fifth player to score in two different Champions League Finals at the time.

Real Madrid won their 33rd La Liga title in the 2016/17 season, giving Ramos his fourth league trophy overall and first as captain. After defeating Juventus in the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final, they went on to win their first league and European Cup double since the 1957–58 season. Ramos became the first player in the UEFA Champions League era to captain a team to back-to-back European Cups. In 2016–17, he had his best scoring season with ten goals. He collected his 23rd career red card in Real Madrid's first game of the 2017–18 La Liga season. It was his 18th red card in La Liga, tying him for the most in the competition. In a 0–0 draw with Athletic Bilbao, he set a new record by receiving his 19th La Liga red.

He made eleven appearances in the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League, scoring one goal, as Madrid won their third consecutive and 13th overall Champions League title. Ramos' performance in the final, on the other hand, was criticized. Mohamed Salah dislocated his shoulder and missed the rest of the game after a challenge, and he smacked Liverpool goalie Loris Karius in the head with his elbow, causing the goalkeeper to suffer a concussion. Ramos is the only player to lead a side to three straight Champions League victories, having done so in each of his three seasons as captain.

Ramos scored his eleventh league goal in Real Madrid's final La Liga game of the season against Leganes on July 19, 2020, in a 2–2 draw, completing his most productive season in White with 13 goals in all competitions. Ramos won his sixth league title with Los Blancos and  Real Madrid's 34th overall at the end of the season. Ramos only appeared in 21 games for Los Blancos in 2020–21, his most injury-plagued season. Real Madrid confirmed on June 16 that Ramos will be leaving the club after 16 years.

Ramos joined Real Madrid as a youthful right back from Sevilla in 2005, and he will leave in 2021 as one of the greatest defenders in the game's history, as well as a legend of the club and of football in general. Real Madrid fans will be disappointed to see Ramos in another uniform, and the club's handling of his departure has left a sour taste in their mouths. Ramos is so deeply ingrained in the Madridista culture that it feels as if the club has lost a bit of its soul. He will always be the image of the Real Madrid captain that Madrid fans have in their minds, someone who loves the club unconditionally and will fight until the bitter end.

Hasta Pronto Capitán y Hasta el Final! Gracias El Capitan.

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