Sergio Ramos reviewed the current situation at Real Madrid in an interview given to the media officially accredited by UEFA. The White defender, who views the decisive stretch of the season with optimism, spoke about the team’s upward trend and gave his impressions going into the knock-out quarter-final phase of the Champions League: “Galatasary are a pretty strong team and their new signings make them a force to be reckoned with; we have to give them a lot of respect. We will try to keep a clean sheet at home and score away goals because things will be difficult on their turf. I have an itch I want to scratch and that is to be able to touch and raise the Champions League trophy. It is one of my greatest dreams that I can have at this stage of my career.”
Everything seems to have fallen into place for Real Madrid with the recent run of results. What has been the key to the team’s return to top form?
I think after a poor start to the season we have closed ranks as a group more than ever and we have drawn on our stronger will to win, our optimism and our ambition to keep improving and do things as well as we can. The results speak for themselves. Of course we are not going to fire off any skyrockets yet because nothing is guaranteed and in the bag. Mind you, it is true that our hard work has begun to pay off with a reward such as reaching the final of the Copa del Rey.
Real Madrid drew with Galatasaray in the Champions League quarter-finals. How do you rate them?
One should never estimate any team. They have all had to earn the right to get where they are. Some may have knocked out teams that started as favourites. That we have drawn Galatasary is not a stroke of luck by any means; on the contrary, they are a pretty strong team and the fact is that they are stronger now with the signings of Drogba and Sneijder. These are world-class players and are key elements in the team. But the real danger is always the group, the collective, never the individual player. One player does not stand out from all the rest if the collective effort is good. So we have to respect Galatasary, try to keep a clean sheet at home and score away goals because I am sure that things will be difficult over there on their home turf.
You have reached this sudden death match having beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford. There you managed to come back from an own goal. How does a player recover his concentration and lead the team after something like that?
You must not lose your concentration even if you make a big mistake. I had the bad luck to score an own goal. I think what has made me what I am today and has gotten me this far is my mental strength. You can’t stay there crying over spilt milk at a crucial moment like that because, thanks to my character and the way I go about things, the other players might be affected. I always try to ensure that any vibes the rest of the team picks up from me are positive ones, not negative ones.
How do you learn to handle the expectations of playing at this level for club as great as Real Madrid?
You are always aware of the influence that this club has from day one when you arrive here. You grow and mature, acquiring experience along the way and you begin to realize that the club is a reference point for children on a global scale, thanks to the influence the club has. All of this is something you have to appreciate the value of and you have to appreciate the importance of the crest that you wear on your shirt; the honour of the club that you are defending and the impact that has. I just hope that tomorrow my name will live on in this regard in a club as important as this one.
At the age of 26 you have won almost all the titles that exist at the club and international levels. What does it mean for you if you crown this record with a Champions League title?
It is one of my greatest dreams that I can have at this stage of my career. The first titles you win always remain as milestones in your life, and hopefully tomorrow we can say that I have won not just one Champions League title. Unfortunately it is one of the few things that I have yet to win and I must admit that it is an itch I want to scratch to be able to hold and raise a trophy as important as the Champions League trophy.
|Camiseta de Sergio Ramos en la tienda del Real Madrid para España|
|Camiseta de Sergio Ramos en la tienda del Real Madrid Internacional|