After 16 seasons, 22 trophies, 671 games and 101 goals, club captain Sergio Ramos has bid goodbye to Real Madrid and joined Paris Saint-Germain.
A modern-day great with the Merengues as well as Spain, the defender’s trophy haul contains four UEFA Champions League titles, five Ligas, UEFA EUROs 2008 and 2012, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Celebrate his achievements as centre-back Ramos prepares for pastures new.
What they say
“Ramos doesn’t surprise me. It’s what he has – a big personality. He’s always there, always encouraging players and he never drops his guard. He never gives up.”
Zinédine Zidane, former Real Madrid coach
“There are defenders with extraordinary technical ability, others have unique defensive qualities – like [Fabio] Cannavaro, brilliant at marking. Others, like [Franco] Baresi, can command a back line while others influence with strong personalities. But factoring everything together to evaluate a defender then Sergio Ramos is the most complete. He’s got a bit of everything: technical ability, strength, personality and leadership.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach
“He defends well, can play, and manages all facets of the game. He’s a very complete footballer.”
Thiago Silva, Chelsea defender
“Sergio Ramos is the toughest opponent I’ve come up against. He is very strong, has a lot of experience, and is a very competitive player.”
Luis Suárez, Atlético de Madrid forward
“You wanted to take on the world. You were just a boy when you arrived and I’m so proud of everything you’ve achieved. You’re forever one of the greatest legends of Real Madrid.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez
International: 180 appearances, 23 goals
UEFA club competition: 138 appearances, 18 goals
*Has also made six outings for Madrid in the FIFA Club World Cup, scoring three goals
Claims to fame
Sevilla & Real Madrid
• His €27m transfer from Sevilla to Madrid in 2005, when aged 19, is still a record fee for a Spanish teenager.
• Ramos has scored in 17 consecutive Liga campaigns – a record for a defender. He netted 13 goals on all fronts for Madrid in 2019/20, a personal best for a single season.
• Part of an elite group of defenders to have scored in two different European Cup finals, Ramos is the only one to have done so in the UEFA Champions League era. His strikes in the 2014 and 2016 finals, both against Atlético, put him alongside Tommy Gemmell (1967, 1970) and Phil Neal (1977, 1984).
• His added-time equaliser in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup against boyhood team Sevilla means he has scored in the finals of the UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Not bad for a centre-back!
• Having ended his 16-year stint at Madrid, on 8 July 2021 Ramos signed for Paris on a contract until 2023.
• Ramos became Spain’s youngest full international for 55 years when debuting four days before his 19th birthday, which he then marked with a first competitive start – in a 2006 World Cup qualifier against Serbia and Montenegro.
• He was a regular as Spain won UEFA EURO 2008, the 2010 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2012; he donned a T-shirt remembering his ex-Sevilla team-mate Antonio Puerta, who died suddenly in 2007, when celebrating both EURO wins. He wore Puerta’s No15 shirt for Spain (as opposed to his No4 for Madrid).
• With David de Gea picked ahead of Iker Casillas, Ramos captained Spain at UEFA EURO 2016 and remained skipper until he was overlooked for the 2020 finals squad.
• Ramos overtook Casillas’ record of 167 Spain caps in October 2019’s 1-1 draw with Norway during UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying; he also became the most-capped European player ever when he got to 177 (now 180) caps in November 2020 against Switzerland, eclipsing Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon.
What you might not know
• The defender leaves Madrid as their most prolific recipient of red cards, having been dismissed a club-record 26 times in all competitions. He was sent off in a record five Clásico games, most recently as Barcelona won 3-2 in the Spanish capital in 2017.
• His record 19th Liga red card arrived versus Athletic in December 2017, surpassing the 18 compiled by both Xavier Aguado and Pablo Alfaro. He has since reached 20 sendings-off in the Liga; meanwhile his dismissal against Manchester City in the 2019/20 round of 16 was his fourth in the UEFA Champions League.
• Ramos is not unfamiliar with charity work and in 2014 was appointed one of Spain’s national ambassadors to UNICEF.
• Fond of body art, he has four tattoos on his fingers – the numbers 35, 32, 19 and 90+. The first two denote his first two squad numbers with Sevilla; 19 is the number he first wore for Spain; and 90+ represents his stoppage-time equaliser against Atlético when Madrid lifted their tenth European Cup in 2014.
• Ramos loves horses and owns a stud farm in his native Andalusia where he can “switch off and enjoy” himself. One of his animals, Silencio de Ramos, was proclaimed Andalusian Champion 2016; another, Yecutan SR4, was a world champion in 2018.
• He has four sons, Sergio, Marco, Alejandro and Maximo Adriano; he married their mother, TV presenter Pilar Rubio, on 15 June 2019.
What he says
“I get up every day with the same desire to keep improving which I’ve had since I was a kid. I’m not looking for recognition. All I want to do every year is do even better, forget what we’ve won and set new challenges. I’ll keep going as long as the body allows it.”
“My grandfather and father always told me that even if there’s only one second left, there’s still hope. You’ve got to have that attitude; that’s always been the attitude at Madrid.”
“To set an example, you have to perform well, work hard and give your all; show the younger lads so you can ask the same of them. I’m very happy to have the chance to lead this team [Madrid].”
“I’m happy if I’m a role model. I think I’ve fought and sacrificed a lot, so that when I retire I can do so with my conscience clear, after having won everything there is to win.”
“One of the toughest times of my life has arrived, to say goodbye to Real Madrid. Thanks to the club, you will always be in my heart. It brings an end to an incredible time, a unique time in my life. This is just a see you later, because I’ll be coming back in the future.”
“I am very happy to join Paris Saint-Germain. It is a big change in my life, a new challenge and a day that I will never forget. I am proud to be part of this very ambitious project, to join a team with great players. It’s a club that has already proven at the highest level with solid foundations. I want to continue to grow with Paris and help the team work to win titles.”
What he might achieve yet
• Become the first player to win three EUROs; although he missed out on UEFA EURO 2020, the next tournament isn’t too far away.
• His eye for goal means he could become the first defender to score in three UEFA Champions League finals.
• Reach 150 UEFA Champions League outings? He is on 129 right now.
• He also needs two more winners’ medals to equal Francisco Gento’s record of six. And his new club, of course, are desperate for their first.
• Become the world’s most-capped player. Ex-Egypt winger Ahmed Hassan’s world record of 184 is his next target; he currently sits on 180 appearances.
What he won at the Bernabéu
4 UEFA Champions League (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018)
3 UEFA Super Cup (2014, 2016, 2017)
5 Liga (2007, 20008, 2012, 2017, 2020)
4 FIFA Club World Cup (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018)
2 Copa del Rey (2011, 2014)
4 Spanish Super Cup (2008, 2012, 2017, 2020)