Sergio Ramos will always be one of Real Madrid’s most legendary captains. The Spanish legend was part of the club’s golden period and led their defensive line with his all for over a decade.
After a painful departure from the club in 2021, he signed for Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent and rendered his services at the French capital for two years. Injuries were not kind to him, but he overcame them towards the end of his tenure.
He subsequently left the Ligue 1 as a champion and has been looking for his next destination ever since. Instead of boarding the lucrative flight to Saudi Arabia, however, he opted to return to where it all started for him – Sevilla.
On the eve of his presentation in front of Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan, Ramos spoke to the media about a plethora of topics. Interestingly, he was asked about his return to Santiago Bernabeu later this year and what he expected when he stepped back on the soil in Madrid as a visitor.
“You know that my heart is divided between Madrid and Sevilla. I hope they receive me with the same love that I have for them.”
The former Real Madrid captain also gave his two cents on the disgraced suspended president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, and the controversy around his shameless act and potential resignation.
“Rubiales had an unacceptable attitude. He was wrong. I hope football has the representatives it deserves. Instead of talking about all this stuff we should talk about the championship we got.”
Ramos will return to Santiago Bernabeu only in the final week of February when Sevilla make the trip to face Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Nevertheless, he will be able to meet the Real Madrid squad as early as next month when Sevilla play host to the record European champions at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan.
Ancelotti takes the blame for Real Madrid’s derby debacle: “It’s my responsibility”
Real Madrid’s fairytale run of six straight wins at the start of the campaign came to a screeching halt on Sunday night against Atletico Madrid.
Not Jude Bellingham, not Joselu, not Luka Modric, nobody could rescue the men in white even with individual brilliance on the night. After all, Atletico Madrid never really allowed them any foothold to get back into the game.
In the end, the visitors stared at the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the Merengues’ collapse and addressed a plethora of topics including the formation and defence on the night.
The manager began his post-match press conference with an overview of the game that unfolded at Civitas Metropolitano from a Real Madrid perspective.
“We didn’t start well. We have not defended well, we have been fragile in our area and we have not been forceful. When they have advanced 2-0 they have played the game they wanted to play, defending very well and looking for quick transitions. They have done it better than us.”
Ancelotti’s formation for the derby raised many eyebrows, for he opted to use five midfielders and only one forward in his 4-4-2 diamond on the night. Clarifying the reason for the abrupt experimentation, he said,
“The formation has changed because we have started with the rhombus, with Modrić as a midfielder and two strikers, Bellingham and Rodrygo. Joselu hasn’t played because he wanted to have more ball control with the presence of one more midfielder. Bellingham’s position has not changed in the offensive aspect.”
“It was not a problem of who played, but of defensive fragility that we did not have in the first games. In six games we had only conceded three goals and in 45 minutes we have conceded three. We have been fragile. It can be said without a problem. It hasn’t been a good night,” he added on what went wrong.
Barring the games against Celta Vigo and Almeria, Los Blancos have conceded the opening goal in every league game so far. Commenting on the glaring statistic, Ancelotti said:
“It is an issue that we have already talked about and we will continue to talk about it. It’s important. Four times the rivals have come forward soon and in three times we have been able to come back.”
“Today we have been close to coming back, but [Atleti’s] third goal has finished the game. At the end of the first half we did well, but the 3-1 was too much to try to recover,” he added.
Of all three departments on the field, it is safe to say that the defence fell apart the most on the derby night. Yet, Ancelotti refused to point fingers at any of his players and insisted it was a combined failure.
“I don’t get into talking about individualities. I’m just saying that we haven’t defended well. The team has not been compact, especially in the first half and Atlético has taken advantage of it.”
“The three goals have been a photocopy. A break to open to the centres, which were not well placed in the area. We haven’t been compact in all three goals,” he added on conceding three headers.
Ancelotti then went on to reveal that he had not had the time to rewatch Camavinga’s offside goal on the night that created controversy.
“I haven’t seen it. I’ve been told that Rüdiger was offside, but I haven’t checked it.”
The Real Madrid coach praised his opponents on the night, Atletico Madrid, and went on to call them one of the world’s best defensive setups.
“Atlético is one of the teams that defends the best, not only in Spain. They are very well organized and are strong in the duels. It’s not easy to look for spaces. We have tried it from outside the area and we have lacked a bit of effectiveness. The problem has not been offensive, but defensive.”
Los Blancos’ attack has received a lot of slack in recent weeks for its relatively poor depth and finesse. Ancelotti, however, refused to buy that theory.
“Vinicius could not score in these three games. Rodrygo has tried, today it has been dangerous a few times, but when the space is reduced it is more complicated for everyone. So far we have lacked a bit of effectiveness, but we have won six games by scoring goals.”
On Aurelien Tchouameni starting on the bench in such an important clash, the gaffer said,
“I have tried to put a little more control in the core and give rest to Tchouameni, who had played many games also taking into account the national team.”
“We don’t point out anyone, I think pointing out Modrić seems a little too much to me. He hasn’t played a good game, like his teammates. I have tried to put more height in the front to play a little more with centres, seeing that we were losing,” he added when asked if Luka Modric’s play on Sunday was sub-par.
After addressing the team’s struggles on the field, the manager was asked if he would have done things differently in hindsight.
“It’s a good question. Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Yet, he went on to insist that the formation was not flawed, saying: “Today we haven’t done well, but it’s not a formation problem. The formation is not going to change. It’s a defeat that can be an opportunity to do things better.”
“We are sad and angry, as always when we lose. But until now we had done it very well and we continue to do it well.”
Finally, Carlo Ancelotti took the blame for the poor showing at Civitas Metropolitano.
“It’s my fault.”
Source: Real Madrid website