Here’s our cover boy! You think the photographer wouldn’t let Sergio give a thumbs up & this is what they settled on? Pssh, like I even give a crap, the rest of him is FOINE! Hot damn! Crotch tattoo front & center, muscles everywhere, I need my fucking copy of this already. Make that two copies, in case one gets ruined….haha kidding, I swear! :P Three cheers for not only Sexio, but for Men’s Health too, this is the best dressed & undressed I’ve ever seen Sergio. I bet he was all “Get this monochrome shit da fuck outta my sight!” once the shoot was over, back in colorful jeans in 5-4-3-2-1! Ooh and another big cheer for pompetypom, who was so awesome to translate the article!
//And suddenly, Sergio Ramos made us greater. During the last ten years, he has not only been a constant presence on the football pitch. He has been on the front pages of newspapers, he has been hotly debated on radio programs and TV, and he been, reluctantly, on tons of ‘paginas de papel couche’
And there we have it. The man who shared the dressing room with Jesus Navas and Antonio Puerta in Sevilla FC. The Tarzan of Camas. The same who transferred to Real Madrid for 27 million euros, making him the most expensive player of his age ever. The only Spanish player bought into the team during the first presidency of Florentino Perez. And yes, of course, Real Madrid’s most red carded player ever, the one who dropped the Copa Del Rey during the celebration, the one who missed that decisive penalty against Bayern. But also, he is a legendary footballer who has lifted two Eurocopas and the World Cup. He who was the one who scored the Panenka penalty against Portugal. He is one of the best defenders in the world. With the Spanish NT, he is on the verge of completing his 100th cap.
The defender offers his hand timidly, almost without making eye contact, and suddenly we discover that Sergio Ramos bears little resemblance to Sergio Ramos. Or at least not the one you’d expect.
It’s evident that he has learned – he speaks carefully, well aware that his words can be easily twisted.
Mature, reserved and cautious, Ramos only allows one license (?) during the whole interview. He displays little of the joking, laughing player that is found in the dressing room of La Roja. It comes in a moment of waiting. While the team is setting up the studio, Ramos sits at a table and flicks through a pile of assorted Men’s Health magazines. He picks up one that has Iker Casillas on the cover. ‘How pages of fashion and how many costume changes did you need to do to Iker, huh? None?’ He is talking to the fashion coordinator who nods, pleased. ‘Well, he kept very little of it, sometimes he wears ‘unas pintas’ (i think that means that sometimes Iker has fashion disasters, not sure hah),’ he says, laughing.
Mature, but with a juvenile aspect. Reserved but generous with his time. Cautious but extraordinarily clear in his responses. This is the Sergio Ramos who talks to us in the sweetest moment of his life.//
The people who truly know you speak of what a great guy you are, although it can seem to be opposite…
Of course. Maybe on the pitch I display the typical image of an arrogant, prepotent Sevillan. But that’s not so – those who know me know that I am ‘de barrio’ (stays true to where he comes from), that I have never forgotten my principals and I would die for my family. I’ll never tire of saying it – you have to get to know people before you judge them.
You seem very mature…
Man, I’m glad that you think that, because it’s a process that has taken its time! When you are young, you make many mistakes, and these errors only serve to teach you. I think I have not done too badly in this regard. To play for Real Madrid also helps, of course. I am obligated to mature, for the responsibility and weight that comes with playing for the best team in the world (wahey!).
And later, of course, football must be able to teach you valuable life lessons.
Lots. Many good and bad, although sometimes you learn more from the bad. In all forms, good and bad, I can assure you that they have taught me that I have to surround myself with my people, feel comfortable within myself and forget about bad times. I work hard, rest well, eat well, and for this my conscience is clear. Today, I do not worry about what they say about me – whether it is criticism or praise. Every night I sleep well and I wake up with the same dream that I have had since I was little.
When you were young – when they called you ‘Schuster’ for your blond hair and when you played football with two stumps as goalposts?
Uf! Yes, yes! It was not that long ago that I was playing football with my friends in the square of my town!
Where some of your friends that were better than you?
Of course! There were many.
But none of them have won the World Cup or have become elite football stars.
Man, it’s evident that luck plays a very important role, but it’s also true that since I was young I have been sure of what I want. I went from school to football and from football to school, I did not move from there. My friends went to parties and I had to stay at home because I had training the next morning. Pero bueno, today I can say that all the pain was worth it.
That’s indisputable, because you have won almost everything. What pushes you to keep fighting for more?
Well, I think that in life, before everything, you have to be ambitious. Furthermore, if football does anything, it does not let you live in the past. My personal goal is to continue to learn with the intent of being better and better day by day. I am convinced that this is the mentality that leads to success. Every morning I wake up with the desire to win more titles, and continue growing as a person.
A course of action that has lead you to be in the best moment of your life, right?
Well, yes. That’s the truth. I am crossing to a new stage in my life, both personal and professional. It’s very sweet. Hopefully it lasts long.
I wonder if the kick into this new stage came from that same one that you gave when you scored your penalty a la Panenka….
Yes, yes! Look! It gives me goosebumps to think about it! That was one of the most important moments in my life. I was very nervous, because if the goalkeeper had stopped it, it would have been very tough and complicated for me – because recently I had screwed up another penalty… *laughs*.
Everyone was talking about it (the Panenka)- just like the one against Bayern.
Of course. As a professional we are very exposed to it (criticism), and you have to live as much with the criticism as with the praise. But when there were so many lies about it (not sure what he means here),… it’s true that it had been getting to me since the Champions League match, and… well, in the end, I caught him (the Portuguese goalkeeper), I lifted the ball up a little bit, I went up with it and… it hit the net. I had the desire to do it, you know? Not for revenge or anything like that, solely for the sake of my own conscience. To show myself that in key moments, I have to be calmer than anybody.
Maybe the problem is the media who often play with the same images of you – a poorly timed elbow (referring to the incident with Pedro during the El Clasico in the Copa del Rey semis I think – it saw Sergio getting his second yellow of the game), a failed penalty, a dropped cup (CdR)…
I don’t take it personally. I know that we are in the public eye, that we are exposed to this and, well – when there is no gossip, when there is nothing to sell, well they always have to find something or someone to hone in on, right? And if it’s me, then fine. At the end of the day, it only serves to make me mas popular.
What I’m not sure of is what’s worse – the sports press or the gossip rags…
Man… I would say that they are two very similar worlds. Both the sports press and the tabloids. Well, it’s their work. We live with it, we respect it, but we don’t like it when they lie, which happens a lot. It makes me angry, because I have always tried to keep my private life in the margins. When there is an established relationship, in my case with a serious partner – I don’t mind. But I don’t like talking about my private life, I don’t like it when they follow me, I don’t like it…
There must be times when all you want is to say ‘Look, the only thing I want to do is play football.’
Yeah, a lot. What hurts the most is when your name reminds people more of your private life than your profession. This is what I take the worst. I’m not famous for who I am – Sergio Ramos, footballer of Real Madrid and the Spanish National Team, full stop. But in the end, the only people who really know me are the people I want to know me, those who I think can contribute something to me, whether a family member or a friend.
And they leave you?
Well, they don’t leave me a lot, to be honest. I would be lying to you if I said they left me in peace. But I take it well. I’m conscious of who I am and that I have to live with it. In the future (when he has retired, god forbid), when I will be a nobody, I hope I can live a much calmer life.
And form a family?
Hopefully! Hopefully one day I can have lots of children, [ CALL ME ] because being a father is an experience that I would love to have. The apple of my eye is my niece Daniela. It is like she is my own. When she comes, I forget everything. I play with her on the patio however, doing whatever. If it’s with dolls, then it’s with dolls. I love it.
To think that the second captain of Real Madrid plays with Barbies…
There is time for everything *laughs*.
And speaking of your responsibilities within the club, is a leader born or made?
A leader is born, but after, one has to finish to win (again, not quite what he’s nattering on about here). It is time, experience, and the credibility from being able to overcome situations that demonstrate whether you have leadership or not. In my way of being, can I play that role…? But this, you know, this I don’t like to answer. I’d rather leave that to others to ponder.
You have more than ten years experience working with incredible leaders. What did you learn, for example, from Caparros (coach when SR played for Sevilla)?
I have so much affection for Joaquin. He brought me out of the cantera of Sevilla when no one knew anything about me. If he has anything, it’s a strong character. He does not care what you say – if he wants you to sit on the bench, you damn well sit on the bench.
And on character, what of that of Mourinho…
I learn daily from Mou. From his character, from his way of being… From his obsession of being better day by day, from getting the best out of us in every training session. We have to install in ourselves the maximum, work to the maximum, so that our performances during the matches are the maximum.
And of Del Bosque? What does he teach you?
He’s a really great person. I don’t think there is anyone who would speak badly of Vicente. You have to be like that. That is his lesson.
And speaking of La Roja, how is the atmosphere in the locker room between the Barca and RM players?
I only have good things to say, in spite of all that is said and of things that have happened in the past. When I have spoken on it, I have always given my honest opinion. When not, i remain quiet and keep it to myself. But remember, we are professionals, not idiots. Knowing the team we have, the potential we have, it would be a terrible shame to throw it all away simply because of the differences between Madrid and Barca. At the end of the day, we have to understand each other for the good of the team.
And if we ask them who if the last to leave the locker room after training…?
Well, if you want you can ask them, but I can tell you the response: I am always the last (laughs).
Well, maybe I’m a little more flirtatious (he says ‘coqueto’, which means just that – flirtatious, but i’m taking it to mean ‘vain’ in this context) than the others. But you know, at the end of the day, people – especially the young- like to take care of themselves.
And do you take care of yourself as much as it seems?
Man, I have no choice. Professionally I have to be in line with all of my obligations. An elite sportsman has to maintain three important things – rest, diet, and exercise. And there we have it. Some days you can skip it, that’s true, because our age permits it. But only a little bit. We’re not robots.
As well as training with the team, do you go from time to time to the gym?
Sometimes, sometimes, but I’m not big on weights, truthfully. I’m not one for crushing myself in the gym. What I concentrate on are my abs (no kidding), and on push ups.
And you practice other sports, of course.
Well… I like lots, but I can play hardly none. Because of my profession, I can’t climb onto a horse, I can’t ride bikes, I can’t ski… But whatever. There are things that I cannot do in this moment. In the future, I’m sure I will have lots of time for them.
What we haven’t talked about yet is your new look…
(laughs) Well… It was a bit of madness that I had before I went to the Euros. As I had had luck to win the Euros and the World Cup with long hair, well, I thought that this time it was different, it was a change in the cycle (I was playing in a more central position) and well – one day I got the itch to do it. I told my brother, and he wasn’t convinced, but my parents said ‘Well, do it if you think it’s right….’. And finally, here we are. In truth, it was accepted and received well. I am happy with the change. I needed to have something different.
It’s evident that your clothes are also a very important factor in your look. In this sense, it has also been refined. [I'm sorry, refined?]
Yes. Fashion is something that I have always liked. Also, I have a sister who dresses very well, and whenever I can, when she is in Madrid, we go shopping together. She spends the afternoon saying, ‘I like this, this looks good on you, this doesn’t…’ I like to follow fashion, but in my own style. I think that everyone has to maintain his own personal style.
Do you dress yourself for you or for the women?
I dress myself for me, and if women like it – perfect. If not, well… I don’t dress for men or women.
Speaking of women, are you still mad about Sandra Bullock?
(laughs) Man, that’s a little bit old. I don’t know why, but every time I’ve been asked to name a women, I’ve named her. She’s an actress I’ve always loved. Nowadays, well – I would name a more recent one, but I’ll keep it to myself, otherwise it will get blown out of proportion.
Sergio, when you have everything that you have – money, success, youth, a great physique, a full personal life… does one look in the mirror and think, ‘Look how great I am, how lucky’?
I don’t look a lot into that mirror, truthfully. I think that when one starts to think those thoughts, that is when there is a problem. I don’t think I have had any of these types of reflections. I’m in a privileged position and I am conscious of it – I will enjoy it day by day but I will never forget the work that has got me to where I am today, nor where I come from.
But you must have some ‘Ole tu’ moments, no?
(laughs) That was my grandmother’s job, may she rest in peace. She always gave me the ear (a bullfighting expression – when a bullfighter has had a particularly good performance, he is often given the ear of the bull he fought). I do not like to give myself compliments, I will leave that to the rest. They criticize me a lot, yes, but they praise me from time to time.
Also, Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim Watishistas! A big congratulations if we have any Hajjis in the house :)