Ramos out to get rich from Real's 'impossible' odds

New manager plays for high stakes in daunting La Liga debut at Barcelona

A fraud? A victim of circumstances? Or, like pimientos de padron, a Spanish delicacy which does not travel well? The truth about Juande Ramos may not be answered until he ventures outside Iberia again, but the former Tottenham manager would go a long way to restoring his reputation should he oversee a Real Madrid victory at Nou Camp tonight.



It is not inconceivable. There are plenty of decent players at Real, even with an injury crisis, and as Harry Redknapp proved when replacing Ramos (below) at Spurs, sometimes all players need is a new voice in the dressing room, one who puts an arm round the shoulder of the disaffected and delivers a kick up the backside to the complacent.

Five days is not long for Ramos to determine which players need the carrot, and which the stick but the midweek substitution, during the 3-0 Champions League defeat of Zenit St Petersburg, of the talented but lazy Guti was a reminder he has prior knowledge of the La Liga scene, just as Redknapp did not go blindly into White Hart Lane.

Redknapp, however, began with Bolton at home. With due respect to Gary Megson's over-achieving team, Barcelona away, a Barcelona who have won 11 and drawn one of their last 12 league games, scoring 43 goals in the process, are a different proposition.

Ramos's predecessor admitted as much, and more, Bernd Schuster effectively tendering his resignation when he said it was "impossible" for Real to win tonight. Ramos is not so daft, whatever the impression he gave at Spurs.

"Barcelona are playing great football, that is indisputable, the table shows that, but no team is invincible," Ramos said. "We have some superb players. They are all internationals and if they play at their best we have a chance to win.

"It is a good situation for those who bet, and are willing to take risks, to become millionaires. There could be a very good financial reward."

Despite Real's poor form - they have lost three of their last four league games and trail leaders Barça by nine points – they are the defending champions and won in Madrid 4-1 earlier this year. However, the squad that won the title is not the one Ramos has at his disposal.

Ruben de la Red, who collapsed during a match at the end of October, has just become the latest player thought to be out for the season, joining Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mahamadou Diarra on the sidelines. Arjen Robben and left-back Marcelo are suspended, while defenders Gabriel Heinze and Pepe are doubtful. By contrast, Barça's Pepe Guardiola should be able to pick from a full squad.

Ramos's contract is only for six months but his prospects already look promising after Raul, an important ally for any Real coach, was spotted dining with him last month. Raul scored twice in midweek, further cementing the relationship. A winning goal tonight and White Hart Lane will seem a world away.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album