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Ramos says farewell to Real Madrid

Well this really does feel the end of an era, doesn’t it? I know the expression is thrown around quite a lot but the news of Sergio Ramos leaving Real Madrid is up there with the end of The Sopranos or when Woolworths shut. Whatever you thought of the man, his omnipresence for the Spanish giants has been something a generation of football fans have been unable to avoid or ignore.
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The Bernabau club announced late on Wednesday that their captain would be leaving once his latest contract comes to an end this summer, bringing down the curtain on a sensational 16-year spell in the Spanish capital.
Arriving from Sevilla in 2005, Ramos soon established himself as one of the best defenders in the world, but that is almost incidental to the all the headlines he would go on to generate, both good and of course not so good.
Having made a grand total of 671 appearances for Los Blancos, Ramos managed to chip in with an incredible 101 goals. Yes, that is not a typo. Ramos, a central defender, scored more goals for the club than Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Kaka. Combined!
One of his most famous strikes of course came in the 2014 Champions League final when he popped up in the final minute to head in an equaliser before Real ran riot in extra time to claim the elusive tenth European Cup, or La Decima, after 12 years of waiting.

Who can Sergio Ramos' goal in the 2014 Champions League final?

Image credit: Getty Images

Three more Champions Leagues would of course follow including the latest in 2018 where he would slip into pantomime villain mode, playing a somewhat significant role in Liverpool star man Mohamed Salah dislocating his shoulder and having to go off.
Of course, this wasn’t the first of Ramos’ dastardly deeds on a football pitch. Ask Lionel Messi’s ankles how much the Spaniard will be missed in their running El Clasico battles – a fixture in which Ramos picked up five of his 26 red cards in Madrid colours down the years. Again, not a typo!
Sadly, it seems as though we will not be seeing anymore goals or red cards from Ramos at Madrid, nor will we see him sat in the stands cheering on his team in his waistcoast and rolled up sleeves looking very much like a hipster barista or Peaky Blinders extra as was the case for much of this past season.
Wherever the 35-year-old ends up for the remainder of his career, will certainly be worth keeping an eye on.

Bale a force to be reckoned with

Ramos’ Madrid exit means that when Gareth Bale heads back to Spain for pre-season he won’t be able to tell his now former teammate about all the fun he had in Wales’ enthralling 2-0 win over Turkey at the Euros. The winger was in inspired form for his country, laying on two assists for both goals – scored by Aaron Ramsey and Conner Roberts respectively, and was generally amazing throughout.
The only blemish on a fantastic display was a missed penalty in the second half as he ballooned it into the Baku sky. Cue countless jokes about his effort either resembling his golf swing – because he likes golf, you see - or that was kicking a conversion due to the similarities between the Wales away kit and Australia rugby outfits. Take your pick.
Unbelievably Wales are on the brink of qualifying for the last 16 having taken four points from their opening two matches. They potentially join the impressive Italy who secured their second round place after finding as many holes in the Swiss defence as one would expect to encounter in that nation’s cheeses as they comfortably won 3-0 win.

IN OTHER NEWS

With awful and quite frankly downright rude timing while everybody was enjoying the European Championships, the Premier League announced its fixtures for the coming season.
A cursed reminder for all those supporters who had been taking a well-earned break from the failings of their club sides, that they will be back to ruin our weekends on a regular basis before we know it.
Fixture day is of course always an opportunity for pessimistic to bemoan the schedule, the sarcastic to point out that everyone plays everybody twice so there is no need to complain, and the smart alecs to point out that, actually, timing and positioning of certain fixtures is important and could very much make or break a season entirely.
Whatever is the case, we’re all hoping that we’ll actually be allowed to attend games to be miserable in person rather than simply watching on TV after last season's shutouts.

RETRO CORNER

Bale’s awful penalty wasn’t the first and probably wont be the last spot kick to be blazed over the crossbar and thankfully for the Welsh star, it probably wasn’t the worst at a European Championship.
That ‘honour’ has to go to Jaap Stam during the 2000 semi final shoot out with Italy. Rumour has it, the ball never returned to earth.

IN THE CHANNELS

Like movies? Yes. Like football? Of course! Like movies about football? Um….
This BBC short film explores the relationship between the beautiful game and the silver screen and the two have come together down the years.

HAT TIP

One Scotland supporter has come up with a creative and novel way of celebrating their return to an international tournament scene, travelling around the country in search of street names shared by every single one of on his heroes in the squad.
My plan was just to run to them all but I was on maps looking for the street names and I couldn't do them all in Glasgow, so I decided to go a little bit further."

COMING UP

More Euro 2020 action of course as Belgium look to seal qualification from Group B when they take on Denmark in Copenhagen. In Group C, Netherlands and Austria are also aiming to build on opening days wins when they face off in Amsterdam, while Ukraine and North Macedonia look to get their first points on the board as they slug it out in Bucharest.
With similar longevity to Ramos and an equally suspect disciplinary record, Tom Adams will be on hand tomorrow ahead of a certain England v Scotland showdown.
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