KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Real Madrid have signalled the definitive end of an era with confirmation of the summer departure of veteran captain Sergio Ramos.
Injuries restricted Ramos to only 15 starts in LaLiga as Madrid finished runners-up this past erratic season which also saw a Champions League exit to Chelsea in the semi-finals and the departure of coach Zinedine Zidane.
The nadir for Ramos was being omitted from Spain’s squad for the Euro 2020 finals after a 15-year international career which brought 23 goals in a Spanish record 180 appearances.
Ramos will leave after failing to reach agreement over a contract extension. Madrid offered one year at reduced wages while the player wanted at least two seasons.
His 16-year career in the Spanish capital has been rewarded with iconic status together with four European Champions League Cups, four Club World Cups, three European Super Cups, five leagues titles, two King’s Cups and four Spanish Super Cups.
That tally of silverware makes him the second most successful player in the history of Real Madrid, second only to Paco Gento.
Ramos began with Sevilla and joined Madrid in 2005. The pinnacle of his club career was probably scoring the stoppage-time equaliser in the 2014 Champions League Final which saw Madrid go on to defeat neighbours Atletico in Lisbon.
Internationally, Ramos represented Spain at four World Cups and three European Championships. He won the 2010 World Cup and the Euro in 2008 and 2012. He made his debut for Spain at 18 and, in 2013, became the nation’s youngest player to ever reach 100 caps.
On the negative side Ramos also established a reputation as one of the most fearsome and ruthless of defenders, collecting no fewer than 26 red cards down the years.