The good, the bad and the ugly: The colourful career of Sergio Ramos

With 25 major trophies, 26 red cards and 129 goals, Ramos is regarded as one of the greatest-yet-controversial defenders of all-time.

Sergio Ramos is at a crossroads in his career at the age of 34.

His international career appears to be over after being left out of Spain's 26-man squad for the 2020 European Championships.

Ramos has won 180 caps for Spain - the most in their history - with a return of 23 goals in the process.

At club level, it remains to be seen as to whether he will stay on the Real Madrid books.

The defender was offered a two-year extension but with a 10 per cent wage reduction due to the global pandemic - an offer Ramos declined.

The centre-back, also known for his ability to play as a full-back as well as a holding midfielder, came through Sevilla's academy before joining Madrid for €27million.

Since moving to the Bernabeu, the Spaniard has amassed 672 appearances and 22 major trophies, including five La Liga titles and four Champions League wins.

Ramos made his debut for Spain at the age of 18 and eventually formed an iconic partnership with Gerard Pique in the heart of defence.

He has achieved legendary status by lifting the 2010 World Cup as well as the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Ramos is a strong player both offensively and defensively, while his passing has been integral to Madrid's fast counter-attacking game.

However, it is his goal scoring abilities that have seen him break numerous records.

While celebrated for both his dogged defending and knack of scoring important goals, his aggressive style - and often petulance - has resulted in the Spaniard having a particularly poor disciplinary record.

Here, Planet Sport looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of Ramos.

Unprecedented success in the Champions League

Ramos is one of the most successful players in Europe's elite competition.

His first triumph came in 2014 thanks to a 4-1 extra-time win over neighbours Atletico Madrid in the final.

He received the man of the match award due to his stoppage-time header which took the game into an additional 30 minutes of play.

Madrid triumphed again two years later, again against Atletico, but this time on penalties.

Ramos scored in the shootout, as well as in the first half. The goal made him only the fourth player to score in separate European finals, after Cristiano RonaldoLionel Messi and Raul.

In 2017, the Spaniard became the first player ever to captain a team to back-to-back Champions League titles, as he and his colleagues broke the hearts of Juventus in the final.

Ramos then made it three titles in succession, courtesy of a victory over an in-form Liverpool side.

Not only did this make him the first to win three Champions League crowns in a row but it also meant he had won the cup every year since becoming Los Blancos' captain.

World Cup glory with Spain

After Michael Salgado's international retirement in 2006, Ramos became Spain's first choice right-back.

Four years on, Sevilla's academy product was part of Spain's golden generation that lifted the World Cup thanks to Andres Iniesta's late goal against the Netherlands.

Despite playing for Madrid predominantly as a centre-back, he played every single minute of the 2010 tournament at right-back and was even named in that year's Dream Team.

Sergio Ramos has been left out of Spain's squad for the 2020 European Championships
Sergio Ramos has been left out of Spain's squad for the 2020 European Championships

Either side of the World Cup win, the Spaniard was part of two European Championship successes.

In the 2012 tournament, he converted his semi-final shootout penalty against Portugal before La Roja dispatched Italy 4-0 in the final.

Ramos' love affair with red cards

The centre-back's maverick behaviour has seen him pick up a reputation for poor discipline.

His 20 red cards make him the most dismissed player in the Spanish top-flight.

Additionally, in 2010, despite playing 264 fewer games than Fernando Hierro, Ramos became the most red-carded player in Madrid's history.

His 10th Madrid red card, for kicking Lionel Messi from behind and then pushing Carles Puyol, was one of five dismissals he has picked up in El Clasico.

After intentionally picking up a yellow card against Ajax in 2019, the former Sevilla defender was banned for both the second leg and the resulting quarter final first-leg.

His ban came nearly a decade on from doing the exact thing against the same opponents.

A decade earlier, Ramos and Xabi Alonso both intentionally got booked in order to get suspended, via the accumulation of bookings rule, so they could serve their ban before more important Champions League fixtures.

However, the pair were able to dodge further retrospective bans, with Jose Mourinho taking the majority of the blame, earning both a €40,000 and a touchline ban.

In European competition, he has racked up 40 yellow cards and four reds.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this makes him the most-carded and joint-most red-carded in the history of the Champions League.

Injuring Mo Salah

Mohamed Salah had racked up 32 Premier League goals in 38 appearances prior to the 2017/18 Champions League final.

Could the Egyptian lead Liverpool to European glory? Not on Ramos' watch. A shoulder grab by the Spaniard in the showpiece game resulted in Salah lasting just 22 minutes.

Despite referee Milorad Mazic not awarding a foul on the night, critics rushed to accuse the Spaniard of deliberately setting out to injure Liverpool's star man.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah lies on the floor injured as Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos walks away
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah lies on the floor injured as Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos walks away

Critics went as far as saying Ramos had set an awful example for future generations of footballers, who would grow up prioritising winning over fair play.

Due to his involvement in Salah's injury, many forget Ramos also caught Loris Karius in the head with an elbow, which later led to the goalkeeper's concussion diagnosis.

100 goal milestone

After scoring his 100th Madrid goal against Inter Milan, the Spaniard became one of just 11 defenders to reach the century milestone.

Other names on the list include ex-Madrid stars Roberto Carlos and Hierro, although Ronald Koeman sits streaks ahead on 253.

Not only has Ramos bagged lots of goals, the ones he scores are often vital. And if he is not breaking Atletico's hearts, it is Barcelona's instead.

Stoppage-time Champions League final equalisers against Diego Simeone's noisy neighbors in 2014 and late El Clasico headers, most recently in 2016, are just a few of the Spaniard's interventions.

Even as far back as 2007, he was popping up with headed El Clasico goals, which not only defined matches, but also seasons and league titles.

A four-minute brace against Bayern Munich, which at the time was the quickest brace in a European semi-final, would be enough to please the greatest of strikers, never mind a defender. It seems the bigger the occasion, the greater Ramos performs.

A Super Cup goal in injury time against Sevilla perhaps usurps his Club World Cup header against San Lorenzo to help defeat the Argentinians 2-0.

Goggle goal celebration

A goal and a yellow card against Romania would not seem anything too out of the ordinary for Ramos.

However, there is more to his antics against Romania than that. After scoring, the Spaniard went to the camera and placed his hands into a goggle shape.

While the referee thought he was mocking his decisions, it was in fact to support Ramos' nephew, who he wanted to tell "there's nothing wrong with wearing glasses".

The Romanian crowd took offense to the celebration and for the rest of the game jeered him.

Referee Deniz Aytekin was far more sympathetic though and even apologized for the booking at half-time, after thinking Ramos was trying to provoke the crowd.

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