Ramos exits the Bernabeu as a Real Madrid legend
Sergio Ramos is leaving Real Madrid, the Spanish giants confirming on Wednesday that the 35-year-old defender will hold a farewell event on Thursday.
Ramos joined Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 and went on to cement his name as a legend at Santiago Bernabeu.
During his 16-year stint with Los Blancos, Ramos has won LaLiga five times and helped Madrid to four Champions League titles.
Diminishing returns last season, mainly due to injury, mean he does not quite go out on a high, but he will nevertheless be considered as one of the club greats.
BRILLIANT IN BOTH BOXES
It is not often that a defender is known for his goalscoring exploits, but Ramos certainly bucks the trend.
Indeed, he is the only defender to score 100 goals while playing in one of Europe's top five European leagues since the turn of the century.
His total of 101 goals is split between Sevilla and Madrid, though he only scored three times for the Andalusian club before his move to the Spanish capital.
In fact, his tally of 98 Madrid goals mean that, since the turn of the century, the only players to outscore Ramos – who also takes a mean penalty – for the club in all competitions are Cristiano Ronaldo (450), Karim Benzema (279), Raul (225), Gonzalo Higuain (119) and Gareth Bale (105).
Ramos first hit double figures for goals in the 2016-17 campaign, scoring 10 times. He improved on that in 2018-19, registering 11, before netting 13 times in his penultimate season with Madrid, albeit seven of those came from the penalty spot.
Defending, of course, still comes first. Ramos played in 206 games in which Madrid kept a clean sheet. It is a figure beaten for the club only by Iker Casillas (243) since the 1998-99 campaign.
A FULL-BLOODED WINNER
There are no half-measures when it comes to Ramos, who tallied up 214 yellow cards in 659 Madrid appearances, seeing red on 25 occasions. Remarkably, four of those dismissals came in his first season at Madrid.
Since making his Sevilla debut, Ramos has 452 wins under his belt, with 430 coming during his time with Los Blancos.
His trophy count speaks for itself, and his mastery of the dark arts – as Liverpool fans will cite from the 2018 Champions League final – is second to none.
A consistently reliable figure in Madrid's team, he played over 40 times in all but two of the last 16 seasons. His lowest total of appearances came last term, when he managed just 21 games, all of which were starts.
He leaves Madrid as the player with the fourth-most LaLiga appearances for the club, with 469, while only Paco Gento (23) has won more than Ramos' haul of 22 trophies.
Luis Enrique explained Ramos "has not been able to compete since January in the right condition, or even train with group", meaning he could not be included in Spain's squad for Euro 2020, despite the former Barcelona boss picking only 24 players, and that was before a coronavirus outbreak affected their preparation.
Knee, calf and hamstring complaints limited the World Cup winner's involvement in 2021, but he had also already missed more matches than Madrid would have liked in the first half of the campaign.
Those 21 games and 1,790 minutes are by far the fewest Ramos has played across a season since joining Madrid in 2005, undercutting the previous low marks of 33 and 2,843 in 2015-16.
Had Ramos been able to get on the pitch more often, his performances would surely have seen him included by Luis Enrique, as he was second behind only Diego Llorente (of defenders called up) in terms of interceptions and recoveries in 2020-21.
However, he could not prove his fitness, and his last appearance in a Madrid shirt will ultimately be the disappointing Champions League semi-final defeat to Chelsea last month.
Now, the onus will be on Carlo Ancelotti to restructure Madrid's defence without the presence of a club stalwart.