History has its truth, and so has a legend. Legendary truth is of another nature than historical truth. Legendary truth is an invention whose result is reality. Furthermore, history and legend have the same goal; to depict eternal man beneath momentary man.

Victor Hugo

 

Legends are born once in a generation. A lot of heroes come and leave the scene, and they continue to come, but the legends never fade. They live for eternity as they focus for longer periods of time and that is the difference between a mere hero and ultimate legend. They dictate the reality and their impact betas the numbers and kick the stats in the solar system. They survive the test of times and Sergio Ramos was one such legend in Real Madrid.

Born in the southwest of Spain in the city of Camas located in the province of Seville, Sergio Ramos’ father worked as a manager, and his mother was an ordinary housewife who in the absence of her husband was engaged in education and upbringing of the children – except Sergio, his elder brother Rene and his sister Miriam grew in their family.

It is known to very few people, but on his left hand, the defender has a tattoo with the initials of his parents and also with the first letters of his brother and sister’s names.

In his youth, the head of the family played in the main body of the local Seville football team, but because of the knee injury, the man left his dream to turn this hobby into his career.

When his younger son began to be interested in football, his father, despite financial difficulties, helped his beloved 12-year-old child to become a part of Alevin F.C. From this point, the boy began to get involved in this hobby fully.

It is known that after concluding the contract with Seville in 2004, Ramos left school because he lacked time for studies. Sergio received the cherished certificate about his secondary education when he passed the last examinations in Biology and Ecology in 2014.

He began his career at the local side of Sevilla, emerging through the club’s youth system alongside Jesus Navas and Antonio Puerta. He made his first-team and La Liga debut on February 1 2004, coming on as a 64th-minute substitute for Francisco Gallardo in a 0–1 away loss against Deportivo La Coruna.

In the 2004–05 season, Ramos appeared in 41 games as Sevilla finished sixth and qualified to the UEFA Cup, scoring in home fixtures against Real Sociedad and Real Madrid (2–2).

In the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, he scored his first continental goal, heading to conclude a 2–0 win over C.D. Nacional at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuán in the first round (4–1 aggregate).

His courage and skill as a defender attracted the big clubs in Europe and there was a real fight between Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus to sign Ramos in the summer of2005. In the final hours of the transfer period, Ramos was purchased by Real Madrid Club for €27 million.

He was the only Spanish player brought in during Florentino Perez’s first stint as Real Madrid’s president, who, at the time, built the famous Galacticos and also sowed the seed for a bright future.

At the club, Ramos was assigned the number 4 shirt, previously worn by Fernando Hierro. On 6 December 2005, he netted his first goal for the Merengues, in a 1–2 UEFA Champions League group stage loss at Olympiacos.

And, with that, a great story of Ramos and Real Madrid started.

Ramos witnessed Real Madrid enter a transition period after the end of the Galacticos era and under Jose Mourinho, players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Mesut Ozil,  Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale came together for rebuilding the empire that was overshadowed by the rise of arch-rivals – Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Messi and Pep were taking Barcelona to a new level, but Ramos wanted to reach higher and his teammates – Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Marcelo and others shared the same intention. Mourinho changed the position of Ramos and started playing him as a centre-back rather than a right-wing back because the qualities Ramos possessed suited him more at the heart of the defence and being a libero.

Ramos, gradually, became the nucleus of Real Madrid backline that was porous and along with Pepe, he built a lethal partnership and never dared to challenge the best by being rough even if it cost him suspensions. If a red card saved the match then it was okay for him because Ramos did not want to lose and for the sake of the respect of that white shirt of Real Madrid, he would do anything.

For Real Madrid he would take flight, even when a few minutes were remaining and script an epic comeback like Lisbon in 2014, for that Real Madrid shirt, he would shed his own blood and make it red, still, he would fight for the respect of the white shirt – he was passionate about Real Madrid and the Santiago Bernabeu always paid rich tribute for this passion that transformed Ramos into a living legend.

In addition to his defensive skills and goal-scoring ability, Ramos had been gifted with pace, and was comfortable on the ball, possessing good technical ability, as well as good distribution, passing, and crossing ability, which allowed him to carry the ball forward and switch the play with long balls, or play out from the back on the ground for Real Madrid.

According to Spanish sports newspaper Marca, FIFA’s official records confirmed that in 2015, Ramos was clocked at a sprinting speed of 30.6 kilometres per hour, making him one of the fastest footballers in the world at the time.

And, alongside, Ronaldo, Ramos had been an accurate penalty taker and was known for often using the Panenka technique when taking them. Again for Real Madrid, he took free-kicks alongside Ronaldo, courtesy of his ability to bend the ball and his powerful striking ability from the distance.

Ramos had also been deployed as a central or defensive midfielder, in particular under Ancelotti during the 2014–15 season.

Ramos has earned plaudits for his leadership, athleticism, technical prowess, and his ability to excel both offensively and defensively, as well as his versatility, which allows him to be deployed as a centre-back and as a full-back.

After the departure of Iker Casillas, Ramos was given the task to lead Real Madrid and as a leader, he had been absolutely fantastic – on the pitch, he was like Franz Beckenbauer, who acted as a true libero and joined the attack – either to assist the attackers or score a goal all by himself!

Due to his wide range of skills, Carlo Ancelotti has compared him to legendary defender Paolo Maldini; he went on to describe him as “the best defender in the world at the moment” a view which was echoed by Giorgio Chiellini in 2020.

Ramos played for Real Madrid for 16 seasons, in a total of 671 games, scoring a remarkable 101 goals and lifting 22 trophies. Only Paco Gento (23) has more, winning those in the 1950s and 60s.

The six European cups he won cannot be compared to the four Ramos has lifted, which were achieved under far greater competition in the modern era.

Since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1992, no side had managed to win it for two seasons in a row, until Ramos captained Madrid to three consecutive trophies from 2016-18.

Ramos had been the man to deliver under pressure for Real Madrid – the more pressure, one witnessed the best of Ramos and for which, last-gasp finishes and Ramos were simultaneous.

None can forget that night at Lisbon and still today, it is widely celebrated for his last-gasp finish.

His 101 goals for Los Blancos and 22 trophies during a glittering career for Real Madrid have been accompanied by his pivotal role for the Spanish national team, with the World Cup triumph in 2010 sandwiched in between two European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012.

We are not talking about an ordinary genius, but a footballer, whose passion for Real Madrid and hard work elevated him as one of the best defenders, not only in the history of Real Madrid but in the history of football as well.

Not every legend is a myth, some are flesh and blood. Some legends walk among us, but they aren’t born, they’re built. Legends are made from iron & sweat, mind and muscle, blood and vision and victory. Legends are champions, they grow, they win, and they conquer. There’s a legend behind every legacy, there’s a blueprint behind every legend.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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