Sunday 17 December 2017

'It's like the first time you make love' - Real Madrid defender on winning the Champions League

Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos

Tom Rooney

For all those envious spectators who’ve often wondered, Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has provided a vivid account of just how gratifying it is to win the Champions League.

For all of us mere mortals who have lived an ordinate amount of our life through the prism of professional sport, it’s safe to say that menial endeavours  have time and again been overlooked in favour of assuming the persona of elite athletes, if only in the mind’s eye.

Money, fame, status and the adoration of millions must appeal to the basest desires of even the most evolved of people.

Few footballers in modern history have experienced success like Sergio Ramos, both in the international and club arenas.

Over the course of the last 11 years playing for Spain, during which he has earned 131 caps, Ramos has won a World Cup and two European Championships. The 30-year-old has provided a surly bedrock for arguably the greatest international team in history.

With Real Madrid, Ramos has accrued three La Liga titles and, two years ago, the Champions League.

On that famous night in Lisbon, when Madrid captured an unprecedented 10th European title, it was Ramos who provided the decisive intervention.

Trailing their city rivals Atletico by 1-0 in additional time, Ramos headed home a seismic equaliser to ensure extra time. A glut of three unanswered goals in 10 minutes saw Real become the kings of Europe for the first time since 2002.

“The first time is like when you make love: you always remember it … but then it’s true that you can improve because to start with you’re a disaster,” he explained to the Guardian online.

“The first time always has a special taste. I was the protagonist for a great goal,” he said. “But I am optimistic, very ambitious, and I prefer to keep turning the page and adding (trophies) to my CV. Hopefully I will have the chance to lift the trophy.”

On Saturday the Madrid clubs will once again contest the final of club football’s most prestigious competition.

With Barcelona securing La Liga and the Cop Del Rey following a late season slump, which included a quarter -final elimination at the hands of Atletico, being crowned European champions would surely compensate for allowing the continued domestic hegemony of the Catalan giants.

It’s proved another turbulent time at the Bernabeu, from a managerial point of view at least. Rafa Benitez was predictably dismissed and replaced by club legend Zinedine Zidane, who may find himself in a similar position should Atletico prevail.

Understandably, a side led by the volcanic Diego Simeone will be somewhat preoccupied by the thought of avenging the defeat from 24 months ago. If that’s the case, Ramos, one of the game’s most incessant antagonists, is not too bothered.

“They’re entitled to look at the game any way they like but there’s no sense of revenge for us,” Ramos said.

 “There have not been many changes in the team. The players are the same as they were then and we have the chance now to play a second final in two years. To have been able to play my part with that goal is lovely. It’s always special to play against Atletico or Barcelona – and all the more so in a final.

“We know our opponents well; we know exactly what kind of team we will be facing. If there’s any team around that has not changed its philosophy that’s Atletico.

“We know that it will be a very competitive, very hard game against a team that plays with a lot of intensity, a lot of character. We’ll see what happens.”

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