Goodbye Sergio Ramos: The end of an era
Published : Friday, 18 June, 2021 at 12:21 PM Count : 413
Sergio Ramos broke down in tears, saying leaving Real Madrid was one of the most difficult moments of his life as he bid farewell on Thursday after 16 years at the club.
The defender played 671 games for Real Madrid and will be remembered as one of the club's greatest ever players, having won five La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
The 35-year-old, who struggled for fitness and form last season, was unable to agree an extension to his contract and will become a free agent on July 1.
Ramos and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez delivered short speeches in a presentation room at the club's training ground, with Ramos' family in the audience.
"The moment has come, one of the most difficult in my life, because you are never ready to leave Real Madrid," Ramos said.
"The fans supported me in the good moments and the bad. I would have liked to say goodbye in the stadium.
"A wonderful stage is closing, one that has been unique in my life, but an exciting new chapter begins and I go into it with a lot of desire to show my quality for many years to come."
Ramos said he wants to "add more titles" to his record and added "this is not a goodbye but a see you later because sooner or later I will return to Real Madrid".
Perez said it was "not an easy day", remembering how he signed Ramos, aged 19, from Sevilla for 27 million euros in 2005.
"He arrived wanting to take on the world," said Perez. "You are undoubtedly one of legends of Real Madrid. You have grown as a player here and been our iconic captain for years."
The highlight of his legendary career at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was his last-gasp header in the 2014 Champions League final which not only paved the way for the club to clinch La Decima, but for the three consecutive Champions League titles achieved between 2016 and 2018.
His 101 goals for Los Blancos and 22 trophies during a glittering career for Real Madrid have been accompanied by his pivotal role for the Spanish national team, with the World Cup triumph in 2010 sandwiched in between two European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012.
With 671 appearances to his name, he is fourth on the list of Real Madrid's all-time appearance list behind Raul Gonzales, Iker Casillas and Manolo Sanchis and his commitment to the club was embodied by the endless number of crucial last-gasp strikes throughout his time at the club.
Although it has been a disappointing ending to his Real Madrid career, with an injury plagued final season and a contract stand-off with Perez, it should take nothing away from his unforgettable time at the club - the era of Sergio Ramos.
Five greatest moments at Real Madrid
As an era comes to an end, let's take a look at five iconic moments of Sergio Ramos in a Real Madrid shirt.
1. Crucial goal in the 2014 Champions League final
In the 2014 Champions League final, Real Madrid were staring down the barrell with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid leading 1-0 with the match heading into injury time.
Real Madrid were chasing the elusive La Decima and were ever desperate for a lifeline. And it arrived in the form of Sergio Ramos. It was Luka Modric who found Ramos with a corner for the defender's epic equaliser against Atletico after 92 minutes and 48 seconds in Lisbon, which forced extra-time.
And in extra time, Los Blancos went on to win it 4-1 and claim their 10th Champions League title.
2. 2014 Champions League semifinal