Charting the Remarkable, Trophy-Laden Career of Sergio Ramos
If you search Wikipedia for the city of Camas, you'll stumble across a brief three lines. You'll learn that it is located close to Seville in the Andalusia region of Spain, has a population of just over 25,000 people, and that it is the birthplace of Sergio Ramos Garcia.
Born there March 30, 1986, Ramos, like him or loathe him, has developed into quite the footballer.
He was part of a trio of exciting youngsters who all broke into the first team at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan around the same time—recent Manchester City signing Jesus Navas and the late Antonio Puerta were the other two. Ramos still wears No. 15 for Spain in memory of Puerta, who died in 2007 after suffering a series of cardiac arrests in a league game against Getafe.
By that time, Ramos had already moved on to Real Madrid; Los Blancos paying €27 million for him in 2005. He's barely come up for air since and has amassed over 350 appearances in the Spanish capital, as well as being capped 108 times for his national team.
He's still 27.
It's not just games Ramos has been racking up over the past eight years since his move to the Bernabeu either, it's silverware too.
The defender is the ultimate professional, even if the odd elbow or theatrics push him close to the line, and his leadership skills have undoubtedly benefited both Madrid and La Roja over recent years. Marca described him as "the glue that binds the dressing room together," and his sensible approach to his relationship problems with Gerard Pique last summer was that of a player with both team and winning values, as reported by The Guardian:
I grabbed Pique and we spoke: 'Let's stop being little kids, let's stop being so unintelligent and unprofessional. Both of us. We're two great players but you're not going to have a good tournament without my help and I'm not going to have a good one without yours.'
Ramos possesses strength of character too. After missing a decisive penalty in Madrid's Champions League semifinal defeat to Bayern Munich in 2012, he had to stand up to a lot of criticism—including that of Manuel Neuer, as reported by Goal.com. A couple of months later he stepped up in the semifinal of the European Championships to chip delightfully down the middle. Panenka. That's how you do it.
His first major success came in 2006/07 when he won La Liga with Madrid playing as a central defender for the majority of the season. The following year he celebrated Primera Division success again; this time he had been deployed, in the main, as a right-back—the Spanish Supercopa also followed that summer.
As a full-back, he was also part of Spain's successful campaigns at both the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010. But it's as a centre-back, where Ramos says he is "more comfortable now," where his most recent glory has come.
After a three year wait, and following the appointment of Jose Mourinho, titles once again returned to Real Madrid. With Ramos as "Madrid's leader on the pitch" they have won the 2011 Copa del Rey, 2011/12 La Liga title and the 2012 Supercopa.
And then there was the 2012 European Championships, where Ramos was able to forget the fact he "wouldn't go out for a beer with Pique" for the good of Spain, winning an unprecedented third straight international tournament. It no doubt played a large part in the 27-year-old being named in the FIFA World XI for the third time in his career in 2012, while he was also named in UEFA's team of the year for the second time too.
That brings us around to the present day, and another Sergio Ramos penalty miss. This time it came against Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup in normal time, although you would be a fool to imagine it might affect him. Ramos told reporters after the match that Spain aren't "robots," as reported by football-espana, but as footballers go, he's pretty close.
When the World Cup comes around next summer, he'll be 28 and gunning for success again; he'll only be 32 when Russia host the World Cup in 2018. Save for the Champions League, he's won nearly all he could wish for, it's amazing to think how much more he could achieve in the time he has left at the pinnacle of the game.
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