Richard Ginika Izuora
The memories will come flowing back for Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos as he faces his old club Sevilla in Saturday afternoon’s LaLiga clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. Only his painful ankle could avoid one of the most specials games in the season for one of the most iconic footballers of the Spanish football.
This fixture is also always extra special for Ramos, who started his career at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan, and has had a sometimes complicated relationship with his hometown club since leaving for the capital in August 2005.
Born in Camas, a dormitory suburb of the Andalusian capital, Ramos entered Sevilla’s youth system early. He was quickly earmarked for success due to his clear mix of technical and physical gifts and had just turned 18 when he made his LaLiga debut in April 2004 at RC Deportivo.
The youngster had secured a regular spot in Sevilla’s defence by the end of that campaign, with fellow local lad Jesus Navas also breaking into the first team around the same time. Ramos’ first LaLiga goal came that September, in a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad at the Sanchez-Pizjuan, while the following April he scored a long-range screamer in a 2-2 draw at home to future club Real Madrid.
Since his summer 2005 transfer to Madrid, Ramos has since faced Sevilla 26 times in LaLiga, with 16 wins for Los Blancos and 10 victories for Los Rojiblancos.
Ramos’ first goal against Sevilla came at the Bernabeu in March 2010, helping Real Madrid come from 0-2 down to win 3-2. May 2011’s trip home must have been bittersweet as he scored in a 6-2 victory for his team.
Ramos would have enjoyed his visits to the Sanchez-Pizjuan less as Real Madrid lost for four consecutive LaLiga seasons from 2015/16 until 2018/19. Particularly painful was an own goal equaliser in January 2017 as Sevilla came from behind to win 2-1, ending an unbeaten run of 40 games during one-time teammate Zinedine Zidane’s first spell as coach. That month also saw Ramos convert a late ‘panenka’ penalty during a highly entertaining albeit charged 3-3 cup draw.
Ramos has also faced his old club twice in the European Super Cup after Real Madrid had won the Champions League and Sevilla the Europa League. Los Blancos won both the 2014 and 2017 meetings, with the latter game featuring a trademark late headed equaliser from Ramos to force extra-time just as Sevilla were preparing to celebrate the trophy.
Through all the drama, the now 33-year-old has maintained a very strong connection with his home city. Recent years have seen him purchase a stud farm and country retreat nearby which he regularly visits with his family. He also has a close bond with current Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui, having worked with the Basque tactician with both Spain and Real Madrid.
Saturday afternoon at the Bernabeu should therefore be an emotional occasion for Ramos, especially during the coin toss with his old teammate and still Spain international colleague Jesus Navas. Old friendships and allegiances will be put aside for the 90 minutes and, from what history has told us, further drama and excitement looks certain. Only the clash Sergio Ramos suffered during the last Real game, with his ankle suffering massive pain, could avoid one of the most specials LaLiga reencounters.
Watch Real Madrid vs Sevilla FC live this Saturday at [16:00] on [SuperSport 7].