Sergio Ramos reaffirmed his importance to Real Madrid by leading them to an inspiring win against Barcelona. The captain returned to the field and was instrumental in Los Blancos’ victory which saw them take a turn after a disappointing series of games. Many attributed the defensive collapse versus Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League to the absence of the unquestionable leader of the squad. There were some unfortunate parallels to the loss to Manchester City last season.
Ramos’ welcome return was filled with many good moments including winning and converting a penalty as well as being one of the key men in sheltering Real Madrid’s defensive third. The Spanish defender added the cherry on top of the cake to truly accentuate his performance with a fantastic tackle to stop Messi as the latter drove towards Real Madrid’s box in the dying minutes of the game.
The defender carefully watched Messi’s run and attempted to force him to a less dangerous zone. However, Messi tried to utilize his change of pace to quickly move into Ramos’ blindside. The defender beautifully anticipated the dribble and superbly executed a high risk backheel tackle that cleanly dispossessed the Argentine forward.
This was the second time in less than a month that Ramos has pulled out this tackle from his box of tricks. The defender had perfectly performed a similar challenge in an international match between Spain and Switzerland. The level of skill, anticipation, timing and pure instincts it takes to be able to do such a tackle not once but multiple times well is almost symbolic of the type of player Ramos is. Madridistas everywhere will hope to continue to enjoy the great leadership, defense and overall ability of the longest standing member of the current roster for many more years.