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Sergio Ramos Says His 'Head and Heart Already on El Clasico' After UCL Red Card

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2020

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League  match between Real Madrid v Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu on February 26, 2020 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Sergio Ramos is already moving on from being sent off during Real Madrid's 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

Ramos was dismissed four minutes from time after tripping City striker Gabriel Jesus on the edge of the box. It marked the fourth time the centre-back has been shown a red card while participating in Europe's premier club competition.Β 

However, Ramos isn't about to stew over the incident for long, quickly turning his focus to Sunday's game against bitter rivals Barcelona in La Liga. Real's skipper tweeted (h/t Matt Atherton of the Daily Express): "After a very difficult night, there are two options.Β We can think about yesterday's defeat or work on tomorrow's win.Β I choose the latter. Head and heart already on el Clasico. #HalaMadrid @realmadrid"

Ramos may be defiant about his next move, but there's no doubt his infraction against City has harmed Real's chances of going through. Los Blancos intend to appeal Ramo's suspension for the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, March 17, per Cadena SER (h/t MailOnline's Jonathan Spencer).

Even if the ban is overturned, questions will persist about whether Ramos can still be an asset at this level. The 33-year-old appeared off the pace against City, routinely struggling to cope with the speed, strength and movement of Jesus.

Ramos' clumsy foul on the scorer of City's opening goal not only gave him some unwanted numbers, but it also served as a fitting indictment of a calamitous performance which also included being beaten in the air when Jesus headed in:

Goal @goal

Sergio Ramos has more red cards for Real Madrid than he has trophies 😢 https://t.co/CjY20oL4bE

Squawka Football @Squawka

Most red cards in Real Madrid history: Sergio Ramos Most red cards in La Liga history: Sergio Ramos Most red cards in the Champions League: loading ⏳ https://t.co/0WIw5MaT7F

A dip in form has come at the worst time for Ramos and Real. Not only is the club facing an uphill battle to reach the last eight in Europe, Zinedine Zidane's team has lost ground in the domestic title race.

Drawing 2-2 at home against struggling Celta Vigo before losing 1-0 in Levante led to Real slipping off top spot. Barca seized the initiative thanks to a 2-1 victory over Getafe before last week's 5-0 win against Eibar at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi scored four against Eibar to take firm control of the scoring charts in Spain's top flight:

LaLiga English @LaLigaEN

πŸ‘½Β #Messi is now the outright top scorer in #LaLigaSantander! πŸ’™β€οΈ https://t.co/mrKxIJ9Ilh

Messi's form should concern a Real defence toyed with by City. So should the improvement shown from Antoine Griezmann.

The Frenchman appears to be settling as a Barca player following his big-money move from Atletico Madrid last summer. Griezmann has found the net in two of his last three matches, including scoring the equaliser in Tuesday's 1-1 draw away to Napoli in the Champions League.

Ramos has enjoyed success in this legendary fixture before, and he remains a forceful leader:

LaLiga English @LaLigaEN

©️ πš‚πšžπš™πšŽπš› πšŒπšŠπš™πšπšŠπš’πš—! πŸ’₯ πš‚πšžπš™πšŽπš› πš‘πšŽπšŠπšπšŽπš›! ⚽️ πš‚πšžπš™πšŽπš› @SergioRamos! #ElClasico https://t.co/37s8FoDS32

However, there have been signs the veteran's powers are on the wane. Those signs will give Barca hope of extending their lead at the top to five points.

City will also feel optimistic about finishing the job in Europe, with or without Ramos in the Real lineup.

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