There was a time or rather more than three centuries when football in England was legally banned because the sport was considered too violent for the taste of the English gentlemen. We may have come a long way since then, but when it comes to defending, evidence of why those medieval lawmakers might be justified is visible in today’s soccer field. It is said that nowadays, the number of fouls has become a measure of a good defender’s success. Nothing could better testify this fact than Real Madrid’s centre back Sergio Ramos booking record.
Ramos earned the title of ‘Hero de la Decima’ after he won the hearts of Real Madrid’s fans by his 93rd-minute leveller in the match against Atletico that won Los Blancos the 10th European Cup. The thirty-year-old defender, with a bonus talent for scoring goals, is as much appreciated in the soccer world for his talents as he is notorious for the belligerent means he incorporates to ensure that no attacker gets through to the rears of his side’s formation. A product of Sevilla’s youth academy, Ramos turned heads for the first time when he was signed by Real Madrid in 2005 for a whopping €25 million, a record deal for a Spanish teen.
Sergio Ramos is one of the most aggressive defenders
He began proving his mettle with his goal scoring instincts from quite early on but noteworthy is his unrestrained aggression on the field which began earning him send-offs right from his debut season. He received four red cards in his very first season with Real Madrid. The September 2005 La Liga match against Espanyol in Barcelona stadium saw the beginning of his long tryst with send offs with 61st and 87th-minute yellow cards.
It was followed by a straight red just 10 days later in a Champions League match against Olympiakos. In a crucial match, when the stakes are high and the nerves all whacked, Ramos does not think twice before jabbing an elbow or two into the attacker’s face or sending them flying with a deliberate trip; just whatever it takes to blow the invaders out of the homeland. He doesn’t shy away from bold scything tackles to snatch the ball away from the opponent. A subtle clip of heels in a March 2014 La Liga match against Barcelona that sent Neymar tumbling into the penalty box; a full forearm swing in the face of his marker in another La Liga game against Osasuna; blatantly stepping on the chest of the Portuguese defender in 2008 are a few of the acts that warranted dismissal.
The centre back has earned a total 21 red cards in his career for Real Madrid. The last one came in an El Clasico game against Barcelona 2nd April 2016, which, along with a red in a La Liga match in March, ended a surprisingly long drought of 2 years. One may wonder what happened to this combustible character in these two years. He did in no way clean up his act but instead manipulated his belligerent tactics to avoid being sent off while still amassing a total of 23 yellow cards in 46 matches. Neat.
Just as good as his average of a goal in 8 matches for Real is, his record of a marching order every 23rd game hasn’t failed to raise eyebrows. His record of a yellow card in every 2.8 games which surpasses that of Gareth Barry, Premier League’s most booked player, is, to say the least, staggering. However, with a Champions League title, two European Championships, three La Liga titles, and the World Cup, this short-tempered extra talented exponent of Real Madrid with an unnecessary knack for violence, who was made captain last year, has more or less atoned for his “crimes.”