June 17, (THEWILL)- A glorious decade and a half came to an end with the exit of Sergio Ramos from the Real Madrid lineup and the Santiago Bernabeu as a whole. It is difficult imagining the backline of a typical Real without the imperial stature of Ramos, one who had come to embody the defense of the serial champions of domestic and European football.
In fact, very few single players defined their modern legacy the way Ramos had since joining the club in 2005 from Sevilla at the age of 19. The centre-back, who began life at the Bernabeu as a right-back before being converted into one of the best centre-backs in the world, saw Real make history with three back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles.
Ramos was a regular fixture and part of the first Galactico era. He traded passes with some of the greatest Real team players of all time, including Zinedine Zidane, the Brazilian Ronaldo and David Beckham. Witnessing the end of one Galactico era, Ramos was there at the birth of the second welcoming and playing with Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
He was also instrumental to many magical moments for the club apart from his penchant defensive chops. Ramos’ last-minute equaliser against city rivals Atletico enabled Los Blancos to beat lift La Decima in 2014, their 10th UEFA Champions League trophy.
Although left out of Luis Enrique’s present Euros 2020 squad, which had no Real players included, Ramos was present at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, where his national team involvements mirrored the distinction he always brought to his role, even if it sometimes earned him a red card.
However, the time for new pastures had come as at 35, Real did not accede to his request of a multi-year contract making a parting of the ways between club legend and club an inevitable eventuality.
Ramos alluded to that in a speech on Thursday afternoon, noting that exiting was a tough decision to swallow, with the glint of tearful eyes.
He said: “The time has come, one of the most difficult of my life, the time as come to say goodbye to Real Madrid. It’s inevitable that I’m emotional. I would have liked to have said goodbye at our stadium, at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“Thanks to Real Madrid; I’ll always carry you in my heart. It’s been a wonderful stage, unique in my life, and opens up a future where I really want to continue to show my best level for many years and be able to add another title to my record.
“Thank you all very much. This is more than a goodbye; it’s a see you later. I’ll be back.”