Sergio Ramos, the most capped player for Spain, has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 37.
It follows a call with the new manager of the national side Luis de la Fuente, who took over from Luis Enriqué in December, after the team was knocked out of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, in which it was confirmed that the veteran would not be considered for international selection again.
Faced with this reality, Ramos was left with no choice but to draw the curtain on an international career that had seen him make 180 appearances for his country, more than any other man.
Confirming the news on social media Ramos said “With much sorrow, it is the end of a journey that I hoped would be longer and that would end with a better taste in my mouth, at the height of all the successes we have achieved with our Roja.”
Not happy with the decision
Clearly Ramos is not happy with the decision, believing that his age has counted against him, and that his individual performances are good enough still to merit him being in contention for Spain.
And he has made references to other comparative veterans – like Lionel Messi and Luka Modrić – two former Real Madrid team-mates, and Portuguese defender Pepé – who have still been considered by their countries good enough to play in World Cup.
Ramos last played for Spain in March 2021, missing the Euro 2020 tournament after a series of injuries. That ended a run of him spearing in ten consecutive major tournaments.
He was also excluded from the Spain squad for the Qatar World Cup.
A glittering international career
Despite the unfortunate way that it has ended, Ramos can still look back on a glittering international career.
Having played for Spain at every age group from under-16 upwards, he made his full international debut in 2005 in a friendly against China in Salamanca, becoming in the process the youngest man to play for Spain in 55 years.
Within three years he was a regular member of the side that won the European Championships, beating Germany in the final.
Two years later, he again was an integral part of the team that won the World Cup for the first time in the history of the country, beating the Netherlands in the final in South Africa.
And, to cap what was a golden era for Spanish football, they were to retain their European championship title in 2012, which was jointly staged by Poland and Ukraine.
The following year Ramos became the youngest European player to win 100 international caps, surpassing the previous record held by Lukas Podolski.
Despite being primarily a defender, he retires having scored 23 international goals for Spain, which
He captained Spain in the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, but the team were again eliminated after a penalty shoot-out.
Despite being a defender, Ramos retires having scored 23 international goals, which puts him equal ninth on the Spain all-time list, equal with the great Alfredo di Stéfano. That reflects his ability to score goals from set pieces, as well as his accuracy from the penalty spot.
There is another side to his game, though. Often accused of playing with excessive force, and a lack of discipline, he picked up 24 cards playing for Spain, the most of any player in their history.
He also holds the record for the most cards (red and yellow) in both La Liga and the Champions League.
It should also be pointed out, however, that he is widely praised for his leadership, athleticism and technical ability, and, at his peak, was considered to be the best defender in the world.
What next for Ramos
In 2021 Ramos ended his long association with Real Madrid and joined PSG, signing a two year contract. That ends at the end of the season and the Paris club have so far yet to make their minds up as to whether to offer him an extension.
Ramos, though, clearly believes that he still has something to give, and he is not ready to hang up his boots just yet.
Should PSG decide not to offer him an extension, he will not want for offers. The MLS is one possibility, but it would not be too much of a stretch for him to follow in the footsteps of another former Real team-mate, Cristiano Ronaldo and head to Saudi Arabia.
The world of football has not seen the last of Sergio Ramos just yet.
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