Sergio Ramos is suspended and it's great news for Manchester City
Sergio Ramos is suspended and it’s GREAT news for Man City… disasters against Ajax, PSG and Juventus show how Real Madrid struggle in the Champions League without their captain fantastic
- Real Madrid have a 2-1 deficit to reverse against Manchester City on Friday
- But they’ll have to do so without their suspended captain Sergio Ramos
- Ramos has travelled with the team but will watch from the stands at the Etihad
- He has missed six European games in the last two years and Real have lost five
- They’ve been humbled by Ajax, PSG, Juventus and even CSKA in his absence
- It doesn’t bode well for Zinedine Zidane’s side as they aim to win the last-16 tie
Real Madrid’s last three big Champions League games without Sergio Ramos have all ended in heavy defeat with 10 goals conceded in the process.
Ramos, who is suspended for Friday’s last-16 second leg against Manchester City, has missed six games in Europe for Madrid over the last two years and the team has lost five of them. Another example from 2015 also ended in four goals shipped and an on-the-night loss.
The most recent example of Madrid not coping without their captain came last season when Ramos watched the team crash out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage at home to Ajax from his private box in the Santiago Bernabeu.
Sergio Ramos was shown a red card in the first leg as Real Madrid lost 2-1 at home to Man City
The absence of captain Ramos will come as a major blow to Zinedine Zidane’s team on Friday
He had forced a yellow card in the 89th minute of the first leg in Amsterdam because two minutes earlier his team had taken a 2-1 lead and he thought they could finish the job without him in Spain. He was wrong.
He’d been man of the match in that first game but Ajax had given Real a huge scare and in the second game they took full advantage of Madrid missing their skipper, thrashing them 4-1.
Nacho came in to play alongside Raphael Varane and both players suffered. ‘This defeat began the minute Ramos got himself suspended’ read Marca’s match report after the debacle.
To make matters worse, during the first half of the defeat by Ajax he was up in his private box filming for a documentary series about his life that has since screened on Amazon.
No one was amused and various media in Spain reported a furious bust-up post match between Ramos and the president, Florentino Perez.
Ramos has won the Champions League four times but the odds are stacked against a fifth
The yellow card that led to Ramos missing the return leg against Ajax proved disastrous
In his absence, Real were left stunned as Ajax came to the Bernabeu and beat them 4-1
Ramos had stopped filming for his documentary after the second Ajax goal had gone in and had also gone down to the dressing room at the break to try to lift the team.
At the end of the match he returned to the dressing room to console his team-mates and, according to Spanish daily ABC, when Real Madrid president Perez, who had also gone to the dressing room, began to criticise the players for their attitude Ramos spoke up for the squad.
In the exchange, Ramos himself was criticised – his decision to get himself booked in the first leg now looked completely misjudged.
He had also admitted to doing so after the game, which meant, despite several subsequent backpedaling tweets, he was banned for two matches by UEFA.
Ramos, sent off in the closing stages in the first leg, will support his side from the stands
Ramos was sat next to Marcelo as the Real Madrid squad travelled to Manchester
Real Madrid boss Zidane is determined for his team to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit v City
He served the second game of that two-match ban in the first Champions League match of this season and Real Madrid were thrashed again, this time by Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG were without Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani but Madrid had no Ramos and with Eder Militao partnering Varane, as he almost certainly will on Friday, the French side ran out 3-0 winners.
Madrid were nearly beaten by the same score in 2018 in a quarter-final second leg against Juventus, again without Ramos.
Real Madrid had won the first leg in Turin 3-0 so another Ramos booking surely wouldn’t matter? Wrong again!
Juventus went 3-0 up at the Bernabeu with, this time, Jesus Vallejo alongside Varane.
Karim Benzema reacts with dismay as a Ramos-less Real went down 3-0 to PSG last year
Ramos celebrates after Real beat Juventus 3-0 in Turin during their 2018 quarter-final
But the absence of Ramos at the Bernabeu allowed Juventus back into the contest
With the aggregate score 3-3 and the match heading into extra time Michael Oliver awarded a penalty when Lucas Vazquez went down under a challenge from Medhi Benatia and Cristiano Ronaldo scored to put Madrid through.
The Santiago Bernabeu breathed a sigh of relief but it had been a 3-1 loss on the night without Ramos.
In the 2018-19 season Real Madrid also lost twice to CSKA Moscow home and away in the group stage without Ramos in the team.
And going back to 2015, when in theory Pepe’s presence should have made Ramos’ absence less noticeable, they also conceded four against Schalke.
The game at the Bernabeu ended 4-3 to the Germans and only Madrid’s 2-0 win in the away leg saw them through.
Ramos has always been important for Madrid in Europe – that 93rd-minute header against Atletico Madrid in 2014 in Lisbon took the game into extra time from where Madrid won the first of four European Cups in the five seasons.
Ramos headed home in stoppage time to save the 2014 Champions League final with Atletico
They might need a towering header late-on like that against City. The best Ramos will be able to manage will be to strain the neck muscles and nod the head from the stands as the ball comes across for the likes of Militao and Varane. He will also have to rely on Karim Benzema scoring any penalties won.
Defensively, how much he is missed will largely depend on Militao who started life at Madrid with some shaky performances but looks to be growing into the shirt.
He beats Ramos for speed, but he doesn’t have the captain’s command or ability to bring the ball out from the back.
After Ramos’ performances in the last 11 league games of the season to help Real Madrid win LaLiga he has reminded everyone of how important he is.
Ramos has repaired his relationship with president Florentino Perez in recent months
His relationship with Perez has improved massively since that falling out after the Ajax game last season, to the point where both have spoken about extending their contractual relationship beyond the end of next season when his deal finishes.
He will be missed on Friday. Madrid are quite good at coming back in the two-legged games in Europe after losing the first match, but only when that first match has been away from home.
If the heroics are needed at the Bernabeu then more often than not they turn things around. But they have never managed it when the first-leg defeat comes at home.
Asking them to do something new without Ramos is a tall order.
It’s little wonder he has travelled to Manchester despite not being able to play. They are hoping his presence at the Etihad will at least inspire those who have to beat City without him.
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