It was a strange international break for Sergio Ramos. He arrived at the Spain setup with injury concerns, but he played the first 45 minutes against Greece before coming off.
After that, he didn’t appear until the last five minutes against Kosovo. He didn’t feature against Georgia, and he was left on the bench again on Wednesday.
With the result wrapped up in Seville, Luis Enrique handed his captain his 180th cap for La Roja.
“I feel fine and it was the coach’s decision,” Ramos said. “It wasn’t my decision.
“The important thing was to play and to contribute something. It’s always important to add appearances, whether it’s a full game or a minute. I’m focused on playing well and giving my best.”
Luis Enrique spoke shortly after and attempted to clarify his decision.
“It’s much simpler than you think,” he said. “Ramos‘ attitude is always commendable. The leaders can add a lot in any situation.
“Sergio is fine, but he’s coming through an injury and has recovered quickly.”
Never a substitute for back-to-back matches
Luis Enrique opted for Inigo Martinez instead of Ramos, with the coach stating that his decision was a technical one.
But Ramos missing two consecutive starting XIs with Spain hasn’t happened since he appeared in the national team in 2005.
He joined up with La Roja off the back of an injury against Atalanta that ruled him out of Real Madrid‘s last game before the break, which came against Celta Vigo. In the last two months, since his February 6 knee surgery, he has barely played with Real Madrid and just 50 minutes with Spain.
Pau, Eric, Inigo… and Ramos
Luis Enrique defended his centre-back, but it’s clear that Pau Torres is now key. Eric Garcia is another important player for the coach, while confidence in Inigo Martinez seems to be growing.
It remains to be seen what kind of a role Ramos will play from now on, but there are no more international breaks before the European Championship squad is named.
Real Madrid are surprised by the situation. They expected their captain to manage his minutes, but they never thought he would completely miss out on one of the matches and play just five minutes in another.