Sergio Ramos, the footballer who has never been a substitute with Zidane

Ruben Cañizares

Madrid

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Fifty days after his last game in the Real Madrid shirt, Sergio Ramos has a 99.9 percent chance of dressing in shorts again tonight against Chelsea, in what will be the most important game of the season for him. white club. Those of Zidane They are played at Stamford Bridge for a pass to the Champions League final and, to do so, they must overcome the 1-1 of the first leg, a result that forces the Spanish team to win in London or draw two or more goals. It is, therefore, a decisive night in which the captain’s weight takes on more volume than ever, despite the fact that in 2021 he has only played four games, and the last one was on March 16, in the round of 16. against Atalanta.

Ramos lacks filming, and quite a lot, but Zidane does not usually doubt if his captain is on a squad list, as is the case today. It is more difficult to hit an eleven of the French coach than the Euromillone winning combinationYes, but the data sometimes helps to understand the idea that the French has in his head. In the five years he has served as Real Madrid coach, the defender has played every game as a starter. The Andalusian has never been a substitute when he has entered a squad list: «It is important to have our leader and our captain. If Sergio is with us it means that he is fine. I’m not going to risk anything because he’s ready to play.

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As was predictable, the technician did not want to get wet about the possible ownership of the captain, but the newspaper library is also there to obtain answers that Zidane does not want to give. Last season, at a press conference prior to a League match, he was asked why Sergio Ramos he never rested. He accumulated many minutes in his legs and the risk of injury was there, but the Frenchman never left him out of a list by technical decision, nor as an option on the bench: “It does not serve me as a substitute,” the coach said then. That reflection, from a year and a half ago, is valid for tonight.

And is that the presence of Ramos on the field it is not only a question of good or regular physical condition. The hierarchy and leadership of the captain are virtues that Zidane considers essential for the team. Also his experience in these types of matches, in addition to his solvency when it comes to getting the ball played from his own ground, and his power and determination in the air game, an aspect that can be key in a duel where perhaps very few occasions are seen. , as it happened in the second part in Valdebebas. “I don’t know if Ramos will be able to play tomorrow (for today), but if he does, things change because he is the captain of the most successful team in recent years. We cannot lose our minds thinking about this issue, but I think it will start and we must be prepared for it, “said Tuchel.

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The Chelsea manager is absolutely right. Ramos conditions an eleven with more doubts in the system than in the names. Apart from Sergio, there are two other players who return after two weeks unemployed. Mendy, already recovered from a muscle injury in the soleus, and Valverde, finally negative for coronavirus. Both point to eleven, despite their inactivity in these last fifteen days. Also Hazard, whose 65 minutes last Saturday against Osasuna are another good clue of what Zidane has prepared for the offensive zone. Vinicius and Asensio would be the two great harmed by the appearance of the Belgian. What remains to be seen is whether he is betting on a defense of four or five.

Defense of five

In the first case, Ramos, Nacho and Militao would play centrals with Valverde and Mendy as lanes. In the second option, Valverde would accompany Casemiro, Kroos and Modric in the center of the field, and behind Nacho would occupy the right side, while Ramos and Militao they would be the centrals. Considering that Zidane can line up several players fresh from injury at Stamford Bridge, it is more likely that he will protect himself with five behind in search of the fifth Champions League final in the last eight years, in a season full of injuries, positive for coronavirus and endless difficulties. “It doesn’t seem like a miracle to have gotten this far. If we are where we are, it is because of our work and believing in what we do. We have had difficult moments and you have to take your hat off for this team. He has character, personality, and when the going gets tough they are there. It is deserved. There are no miracles in football, ”declared Zinedine Zidane.

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