Sergio Ramos’ recent form has been well below his usual standard, and that has not gone unnoticed by the mainstream media as they continue to criticize the Real Madrid and Spain captain. Ramos most recently committed a foul inside the box in the 82nd minute against Italy in a World Cup qualifier, allowing for Daniele De Rossi to convert from the spot and equalize for his nation.
The foul was Ramos’ fourth penalty that he has given away this season, the other three coming in club football with Real Madrid. The frequency of errors for Ramos is out of character, especially on the international stage, as that was the first penalty he has ever conceded for Spain in 139 appearances.
“Those criticising me right now should enjoy themselves, because I’m going to shut them up in the end,” said Ramos. “Anyone can make a mistake, even Gianluigi Buffon.” Indeed, the Italian goalkeeper’s error was also a rare sight, charging off his line to make a clearance and completely missing the ball before Vitolo had the simple task of rolling the ball into the back of the net.
The slump in form of Ramos coincides with Real Madrid’s recent run of results, held to draws in La Liga by the likes of Eibar and Las Palmas. Ramos was rested for the Eibar clash, but has still managed to accumulate four yellow cards inside six league games, and six from 10 games if you count all competitions for club and country.
His disciplinary record has never been great, though, collecting 21 red cards playing for Real Madrid. That places him as the most ill-disciplined player to ever represent the club. The all-time leader for sending offs, if we combine the top flight with the second division, is Pablo Alfaro. Alfaro played over 500 matches in Spain, with his longest spell being at Sevilla, and was a fearsome defender who last managed at Spanish third division side, Marbella FC. He was sent off 27 times in his playing career.
It’s not all that unlikely that Ramos will get close to that figure as the centre-half approaches 31 years of age in March. He has proven himself as a world class player and leader on multiple occasions, but will need to avoid the recent lapses in concentration if he is to silence his critics and return to his best.