Sergio Ramos’ shithousery has become part and parcel of the modern game. Whether it’s kicking Mohamed Salah in or getting Juan Cuadrado sent off – both of which took place in a Champions League final – the Spaniard’s villinary is infamous.
Which is why his antics, and subsequent comments, in last night’s European clash with Ajax will come as a surprise to absolutely no-one.
With one minute left of normal time during the first-leg last-16 tie, the Madrid captain came sliding in on Kasper Dolberg to pick up a yellow card and earn a suspension for the second leg.
Reckless? Foolish? Completely unintentional? Probably not. Many were quick to observe that Ramos, who had been on two bookings heading into the match, knew what he was doing given a suspension now will reduce the risk of missing a match later in the competition – with all bookings wiped following the quarter-final stage.
Nonetheless, it’s a dangerous approach as Uefa rules state a player who purposely obtains a booking can be banned for two games.
This seemed to have slipped Ramos' mind as he told reporters in the immediate aftermath of the game that he would “be lying if I didn’t force [the booking]”.
But, after the penny dropped, the defender later said the view he intentionally played for the yellow card “hurts”, insisting “I have not forced the card”.
“In a game there are many tensions, many sensations and many pulsations,” he tweeted. “You have to make decisions in seconds. The best of today is the result. The worst, not being able to be with my team-mates for a game.”
Pundit Martin Keown said it was “very obvious” Ramos was looking to get booked when he cut down Dolberg.
Dani Carvajal received a two-game ban from Uefa when he was judged to have been booked on purpose in the final minute of a 6-0 win over Apoel Nicosia in last season’s tournament.
Ramos, never change.
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