The first day of April is a day many know to be April Fools Day, a day of practical jokes and exaggerated reports. And, when the Sergio Ramos injury news hit the headlines, many on-watching Real Madrid fans would have been hoping for a quick message to detail a practical joke. But that message did not come. The news was and still is very much true.
Their leader, Captain and glue keeping the backline together will miss a month through an injury suffered during his time with the Spanish national team. There is never a good time to see a key player sidelined, but there are certainly better times than a month filled with a Champions League quarter-final and an El Clasico.
Ramos will ironically miss both legs against Liverpool through injury four years after fouling Mohamed Salah out of the Champions League final. On top of that, he’ll miss the game of all games in Spain: The El Clasico. It could well be Lionel Messi’s last battle against the Madridistas, too, but a battle Ramos will miss.
Perhaps Madrid can turn this into a positive, however. Ramos is 35; he can’t go on forever. Now is the time to prepare a side ready-made to progress without him. During this all-important month, Zinedine Zidane will get a glimpse into the future and see who is capable of stepping up.
Players That Must Step up Following Ramos Injury
Often dubbed Sergio Ramos’ apprentice, the mantle of leadership in the backline will rightfully be passed into the grasp of Raphael Varane.
The Frenchman, now 27, is entering the prime years of his career as a defender. Now, more than ever, he must seize his opportunity to lead what could eventually be his Real Madrid side.
He has the experience, the honours won and the talent. Now, he must prove his leadership skills when Madrid need them most. Should he do that, those often criticising the defender around Europe will quickly be silenced.
For Ramos, the injury is a major blow. For Varane, it is an opportunity he must take.
After arriving in Madrid in 2019, many expected Eder Militao to improve and impress before going onto become one of the best defenders in Europe. But it just hasn’t worked out so far for the former Porto defender, who has been hit with injuries and poor form.
Still only 23, however, Militao has plenty of time to reach his aforementioned potential and lift the pressure to succeed from his shoulders. Stepping up next to Varane in the absence of the injury struck Ramos would go a long way in convincing the doubters.
Varane once had a mentor in Ramos. Now, he must follow in the Spainards’ footsteps to step up and lead the more inexperienced yet more than capable Militao.
Karim Benzema Must Take Leadership Role After Ramos Injury
Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2018, Real Madrid have searched for an adequate replacement through an outside source. Jovic arrived and failed to succeed. Vinicius Junior is one for the future, yes, but has also failed to deliver.
And who can forget Eden Hazard? The man that was finally meant to replace the Ronaldo void in Madrid. Yet, repeating those that tried before him, he failed with injuries not helping his case. But, when you look at that Real Madrid side, you begin to realise that they already had someone to carry the goalscoring burden.
Benzema was always ready to step out of the Goat-like shadow to become a leader in Madrid’s frontline. And even as those arrived and failed around him, the Frenchman continued to improve. He has arguably been their best player since Ronaldo’s departure.
Now, he must step up once again. He took the goalscoring burden from Ronaldo, and he must take the leadership role in place of the injury struck Ramos.
Madrid Record Without Ramos Should Favour Liverpool
Playing without a leader is never easy. And if you needed any proof of that, just look at Real Madrid’s last ten Champions League games without Sergio Ramos. The former three-year consecutive winners have lost seven of their last ten games in the competition without Ramos.
These games include losses to Atalanta, Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Ajax and Inter Milan. When looking at this record, Liverpool will be licking their lips with the thought of vengeance in mind.
If the aforementioned players fail to step up in place of Ramos, then his injury will define their season in both the Champions League and La Liga.
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