Spain's summer didn't quite pan out as the world expected.
It certainly didn't work out as Sergio Ramos might have been expecting.
The Real Madrid right-back is an accustomed winner, both for club and for county, so it must have been a strange experience for him to be part of a La Roja side which ducked out of the World Cup so early.
Beaten by Holland and Chile in their first two games, Vicente del Bosque's side never even had a chance to get going.
In fact, so shocked was Ramos by Spain's efforts in Brazil, he felt the need to issue an apology, as reported by the agency EFE (via IBNLive): "We apologise to all the Spaniards who in these times of crisis take refuge in the successes of La Roja and are now sad and disappointed. Football sometimes is a game that doesn't give you what you want."
Football is a game that often gives you a very quick chance of reprieve, however, and that is certainly the case for Ramos in the Spanish capital.
With the La Decima hoodoo laid to rest, Madrid now front up to new challenges, like winning their 11th European Cup.
Just as importantly, though, will be getting themselves back on the top of the Primera Division, because despite Copa del Rey and Champions League glory last term, finishing below Atletico Madrid and Barcelona will still have hurt the club.
And in a bid to win all six trophies they'll participate in this season, James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas have already been added to the squad.
The first of the six has already been won, too, as Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 on Tuesday night to clinch the European Super Cup.
It might have been less than a month ago that Ramos was asking the Spanish public for forgiveness, but he has already turned his attention to club domination in quotes to the newspaper AS (as translated by Football Espana):
It's a good way to start, with a new trophy. When there’s a trophy you always work harder to get to your best moment and meet the challenge.
Madrid are always well reinforced and have signed with the head and intelligence and we have added the quality players that were necessary.
And with Ramos at the spine of Carlo Ancelotti's side, despite the sour taste the World Cup left, Madrid are well placed for glory.
Few players are ever likely to accomplish what the Seville-born defender has by the age of 28.
He has already amassed an astonishing 120 international caps, won three league titles, two domestic cups, two domestic Super Cups and a European Super Cup, too...and the Champions League, of course.
For Spain, his success is well documented as well: two European Championships and one World Cup.
As an individual, he's been named in four FIFA World XIs and has appeared in the UEFA Team of the Year on three occasions; Ramos might have his critics, but there are few men you would rather have leading your club's charge for success.
With the European Super Cup ticked off already, Madrid now go in search of its Spanish equivalent next week against Atletico Madrid.
Then, they will eventually turn their attention to the Club World Cup, while all the time focusing on achieving success in the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
Last season, when Madrid were trying to get over the finishing line, it was Ramos who stood up to be counted, even adding goals to his game—including an impressive free-kick in a league fixture against Real Valladolid.
Those qualities of leadership, bravery and perseverance will come to the fore once again.
Ramos won't be reflecting on his World Cup woe as he steers Ancelotti's ship in what Madrid fans hope will be remembered as a record-breaking season.
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