Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player

SERGIO RAMOS, such an iconic figure and once again on the European stage, he delivered.

The 33-year-old will surpass Roberto Carlos’ record of the most Champions League appearances for a defender should he make his 121st outing against Galatasaray in the next group game.

Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player6 Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos scores in the 2-2 draw against Club Brugge on TuesdayCredit: Getty – Contributor

Yes, Ramos must take a share of the blame for both of Club Brugge’s goals last night, but he fought back to ensure Los Blancos came away with something – heading home to make it 2-1 before Casemiro equalised late on.

His goal looked offside, but VAR allowed it to stand, highly controversial, but everything Ramos touches is controversial so it’s entirely fitting.

That was the 10th different season Ramos has scored in Europe’s biggest cup competition. Only Gerard Pique has done that before. You’ve got to take your hat off to him.

When you think of him, do you see the suited and booted Ramos ‘caressing’ Mohamed Salah’s left shoulder on his way past him after picking up his best defender award?

Do you see him shoving Carles Puyol in the face during El Clasico while trailing Barcelona 5-0?

Is it him picking up an 89th minute deliberate yellow card just before full time in the Champions League game against Ajax (not his first offence) so he could have his cards erased for the latter stages?

Or is it him exchanging taints on social media with Gerard Pique?

For me it’s all of the above, but I have a massive soft spot for Ramos, and I love watching him play.

He always delivers, and he always gives us something to talk about.

Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player6 Ramos, 33, is set to surpass Roberto Carlos’ record of the most Champions League appearances for a defenderCredit: Reuters

Frankly I think he’s the most important player for Real Madrid.

Right now he could face missing El Clasico after allegedly verbally abusing the assistant referee in the league game against Atletico Madrid last weekend.

Diego Simeone was fuming having lost his own player Diego Costa for similar last season. It smacks of double standards, but that’s Ramos’ super power, he can wind up anyone.

And the more of these dramas and indiscretions the more I love him. No it’s not because I love a bad boy, I’ll lay it on the line here, I’m a Real Madrid fan, and who wouldn’t want someone like Ramos in their team?

For starters he’s won everything for club and country there is to win, four La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, back-to-back European Championships and a World Cup.

And he’s gone about it without needing to be the star man.

He’s a tough defender who has scored so many goals along the way and is willing to put himself on the line for the sake of his teammates, what’s not to love?

I first met Ramos as a 19-year-old at Real Madrid in 2005. He’d yet to make his first appearance for the Spanish senior side, but was already well established for the Under-19s.

Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player6 Ramos is level with former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas as Spain's most-capped playerCredit: Getty – Contributor
Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player6 Diego Simeone believes Ramos insulted the assistant referee's mother during the Madrid derbyCredit: EPA

I was doing his first interview as a Real Madrid player, at the club’s training ground in Valdebebas.

He entered the room with the kind of casual stride you expect from a skateboarder, long brown hair, tanned and tattooed. Confident cool and self-assured.

Not surrounded by entourage, his brother was his agent and he spoke to journalists freely, putting everyone at ease.

When he first came in Michel Salgado was a well-established right-back and Ramos came into the heart of defence with Mejia.

Little did Salgado know then that this young 19 year-old defender would eventually spell the end for him at international level.

Before his Real Madrid career had even begun he had made his first substitute appearance in a friendly against China and in doing so took the record (later to be broken by Cesc Fabregas) for the youngest appearance maker for Spain. It was four days before his 19th birthday.

That was in 2005 and 14 years later he’s still pulling on the shirt of Spain, and when he did so against the Faroe Islands he moved level with Iker Casillas as the most-capped player for La Furia Roja.

Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player6 Alison Bender on Ramos: "Frankly I think he’s the most important player for Real Madrid."

The Red Fury: it’s a name so appropriate for Sergio Ramos.

So when Spain play Norway in their next qualifier the captain of both club and country will overtake Casillas. Classic Ramos though, not happy with the 168 he’ll have against Norway, he’s targeting 200.

If he wants to reach 200 caps he’ll have to play in Qatar aged 36 but you wouldn’t put it past him, he looks lean and mean and doesn’t appear to have too much competition breathing down his neck.

If you look at his injury history, he has been pretty lucky over the years, though he is prone to the odd hamstring injury.

The longest he’s been kept out is eight games in 2016 and a seven game layoff last season with a hamstring injury.

At the time he took to social media to share his gruelling exercise regime in the Spanish sunshine, to hip hop music that lead the Real Madrid official twitter page to share with their followers “our captain”. They are so proud of him and you can see why.

So we’ve had our fix of Ramos in the Champions League for now and we may have to see him wait out four league matches depending on the fallout from the Atletico game.

Sergio Ramos is the most misunderstood football star; he’s charming, controversial and Real Madrid’s key player6 Los Blancos skipper Ramos has won the Champions League four timesCredit: Getty – Contributor
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If like me you can’t get enough of him, you might want to watch his new documentary El Corazon de Sergio Ramos that focuses on his family life with his three children.

It seems like a documentary designed to defend a player who is largely misunderstood.

For me though he is one of the greatest defenders our game has seen, and right now he’s the most important player on the team.

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