Sergio Ramos is a perennial winner and he does not care what you think. The former is what should annoy you, but in truth – it’s the latter.
There are contributing factors, of course. He plies his trade for an evil empire whose political and success-laden history irks the masses. He’s got a nicer haircut than you, even if it looks like he got it done in the same place for the same price.
He doesn’t let your favourite footballer – who you, a grown man, probably have a poster from MATCH magazine of on your wall – waltz around him.
But there is a sombre truth we all need to embrace. And many have. As many still are. He’s not so much on the threshold between old-school defender and coward as he is on the threshold between wind-up merchant and outright nasty f*cker.
However, we’re all going to have to put up with it. Liverpool, like absolutely everyone who ever faced off against his Madrid outfit, knew what they were up against. Get him booked early on. That’s fairly much how you stop him. But Liverpool wanted to play the heroes – the knights in shining Scouse armour. Sadio Mane was the only player booked on the night.
Whether you like it or not, he’s one of the best defenders on the planet and he should have been planned for in the same manner the majority of managers set out certain instructions for 30-goal-a-season strikers. He wasn’t. He ran amok. He fouled Mohamed Salah; Salah landed on his arm. It’s probably not even in the top ten most cynical things the man has done this week. But his reputation allows Liverpool an outball – a scapegoat.
I wanted to see Mo Salah in a Champions League final. Everyone on the planet did. But it didn’t come to pass. Ramos had an easier night. Through no particular malicious action of his own, though. That’s not to say he wouldn’t have tried to kick the Egyptian in the head later on in the game – he probably would have – but that’s neither here nor there.
Nom nom nom. Luis Suarez taking a taste of Branislav Ivanovic. Liverpool's PR team have a busy night ahead: pic.twitter.com/SSO5DYpLbm
— Charlie Morgan (@CharlieFelix) April 21, 2013
The Ramos Complex is a football-specific mental disorder that affects fans of clubs who don’t have centre-halves who care enough about winning.
Centre halves who don’t do the dirty work that defenders in the earliest campaigns of the Premier League managed. You can go through someone if you want, lads. It happens.
But while this has read as a keen defence of the man, there does remain a question about his legacy. For all the winning he’s done, will he be remembered as an all-time great because of his misdemeanours? It’s probably on a case-by-case basis in truth. UEFA will consider him their golden sun because they adore Madrid. Even if they didn’t, it would be hard to overlook a key cog in a dynasty in their club competition centrepiece.
If you don’t want to remember Ramos as a terrific centre half, you’re entitled to do so. Just make sure you’re not hypocritical when your club signs a player just like him and they start to perform significantly better than beforehand.