There are certain elements that are present in every good story. The most familiar being good versus evil. Good guys against the bad guys. In Hollywood the good guys usually win. In the Champions League final the bad guy won. He even lifted the trophy as captain. His behaviour during the game though annoyed many fans, Sergio Ramos is footballs favourite bad guy.
Real Madrid won a record breaking 12th Champions League in Cardiff at the weekend. One of the talking points from Madrid's stellar second half performance was an incident involving captain Ramos. The Spaniard's over-reaction leading to Juventus wide man Juan Cuadrado being sent off. It's not the first time Ramos has played the bad guy. You don't get 22 career red cards by playing nice. His style and attitude angers fans. Is he really a villain? Maybe he should be admired rather than vilified? Let’s look at both sides.
In his defence.
Sergio Ramos is a fabulous footballer. As a central defender he has everything. As strong in the tackle as he is in the air. His abilities on the ball ensure he is classed as a 'footballing' defender. Ramos' talents not confined to stopping teams, he has made a habit of scoring some crucial goals too.
As honours lists go Sergio's is as impressive as his perfectly quaffed hair. He's won every domestic honour with Real Madrid, as well as 3 Champions League titles. In addition to that he has added a World Cup and two European Championship with Spain. That's not just an impressive haul, it's down-right sensational.
Any player can pick up a few medals without being great or being an essential part of a team. Ramos though has been an essential component in these sides. His ability, coupled with his desire, have made him the decorated international star that he is. It's that desire though that has made Ramos something of a hate figure amongst fans outside of Real.
Some would say Ramos pushes the boundaries, some just call it cheating. Stamps, kicks, elbows and multiple double bookings have contributed to Sergio's 22 Real Madrid red cards. It was the over-reaction in the Champions League Final which drew the ire of many watching. A deliberate act to get an opponent sent off. Diving and play-acting is a blight on the modern game. It could be said though, that until the football authorities find a way to eradicate it, players are entitled to push their luck. Ramos does this regularly.
Indeed, his 22 red cards may even be lenient in comparison to what Ramos may have had. The Real captain plays with a win-at-all-costs mentality. His approach is open to criticism but the results, he would argue, are worth it. It's hard to argue against that. Ramos is after all, one of the most decorated players in European football history. Purists may argue that the way Ramos goes about things is 'ruining football'.
The fact that footballs rule makers haven't brought in means to retrospectively punish allows Ramos, and countless others, to do what he does. Perhaps the ends justify the means. As long as he gets away with it, he'll do it. Hate the game, not the player.
The reason I wrote this is that I like Sergio Ramos. I appreciate his passion and would take a team of Ramos' over a team of nice guys any day.
However, I struggle with the antics sometimes. I don't like diving and play-acting. It has gotten out of hand due to the fact footballs law makers have failed to deal with the problem. Players know they can try it on, the risk/reward odds are stacked in their favour. Bad fouls or elbows are punished, if not at the time then usually in retrospect, having been viewed on television coverage.
For all his faults though, Sergio Ramos should be appreciated for what he is, a winner. He doesn't strive for popularity. He doesn't seem to care if he's hated by those outside the Bernabeu. Real Madrid’s captain will do whatever it takes to win. When he retires he won't care about people bemoaning his cheating. He'll look at his huge medal haul and know he contributed. Sergio Ramos doesn't care what you think. He's the bad guy. The bad guy who keeps winning.
Where do you stand on this? Let us know in the comments below!