He’s grown up at Real Madrid, and we have grown up with him. For 16 years, Ramos was a constant, he was a lock. The more things changed in our personal lives — be it graduations, marriages, children, relocations, or one of life’s many milestones – the more you valued Ramos as the foundation of Real Madrid. He defended the club like no one else. He understood the meaning of the club.
But now he is gone.
When a cycle reaches its conclusion, it is human nature to go back to the start. Remember when he arrived? There was a feeling on that fateful day in August of 2005, an aura even, that Ramos was different. Ramos was special. Looking back, we should have known then what a bold character was arriving. Rolling up to Madrid as a 19-year-old in an all-white suite. This was a Real Madrid team that still had the likes of Raul, Roberto Carlos, Zidane, Ronaldo, and Beckham in the side. Yet, that sort of thing never fazed Sergio Ramos, not even as a teenager. Some perish under the spotlight of the Bernabeu lights, but Ramos always thrived. He had the confidence to sit next to Roberto Carlos and Zidane and count them as their equal, as a teammate.
There was no challenge too big for Ramos, no obstacle too large. Sure, he has had his fair share of hard lessons. Just ask Ronaldinho, or Thierry Henry, or Robert Lewandowski – the legend has been humbled on more than one occasion. But that was the thing about Sergio Ramos, you knew he would learn the lesson. He would come back stronger, hungrier, and with a burning desire to right his past wrongs. His insatiable drive could only be matched by Real Madrid fans.
He was connected to the fans because of that desire to win. It was a desire to win, but not just for his own personal accolades, but a desire to win with Real Madrid. He wanted to elevate the club. It did not sit right with Ramos that Real Madrid had not won the Champions League for 12 years. La Decima was the perfect moment to encapsulate Sergio Ramos, because it encapsulated one of the most important values at Real Madrid: “El Real Madrid nunca se rinde”. Real Madrid never gives up. Ramos never gave up.
The reason why this one hurts so much is because Sergio Ramos is one of us. Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid. Over time, he has become part of the essence of Real Madrid. That saying gets thrown around every now and then when a mythical Real Madrid figure leaves and I never truly understood that concept until now. Until now, when his face is featured next to departed legends. Sergio Ramos forms part of the fabric of the club. His history is Madrid’s history. He has engraved his name into Real Madrid folklore.
It was not supposed to end like this. In a season without fans, without the bright lights of the Santiago Bernabeu, without a proper send off. It feels rather anticlimactic for a player that was the epitome of heroic moments. But we are not here to disparage the player or the club. Madrid fans will forever be indebted to Sergio Ramos. He may be departing, but there are hundreds of Ramos moments that will be etched into our minds for eternity.
Thank you capi – it is not a goodbye, but a see you later.