Sergio Ramos at El Partido de las 12
Updated with interviews with Diego López, Pepe and Marcelo!
Sergio Ramos appeared on Cope’s “El Partido de las 12″ yesterday. And he did it in a hedgehog print shirt (which is Dolce & Gabbana, by the way) paired with a vest and that dangly cross earring he’s been sporting recently. Why, Sergio, why? Let’s hope you won’t be the one in charge of dressing the little one. Anyway, here are the highlights from the interview, which didn’t get interesting until they got to the personal section.
It still makes me smile whenever he refers to himself in the third person.
On Cristiano: we have a great friendship. At any type of work, like yours, or at the fruit shop or at the bakery or wherever, there are co-workers, and among them there are some that you have more feeling with, and some that you have less. In my case, with “Crí,” we have a great friendship, one that has grown over the years. (Were you the one that helped Cris to get over his sadness and helped to reintegrate him with the group?) Hombre, there’s no need to give me a medal. We’re here to help, and whenever one of your teammates has a problem, and since I’ve been here longer than the others… if there’s ever a misunderstanding, with the press, with the fans, on the personal level with your family, we’re here to listen, to give affection. It’s the same as when I was going through a bad moment, Cris was the first one to ask how I was, what had happened. I feel this obligation as a friend to lend a helping hand.
On criticism: some don’t like the fact that Ramos has been here for 10 years. There’s no better answer than to respond on the field. They may criticize you a lot, but at the end of the day football will put everyone in their place. The day I retire, they’ll look at all my trophies, and I’ll be the one laughing at home, not them. (In response to a question on which he’d like to win this year, La Décima or the World Cup?) If we win both, I’ll write a personal note and send it to all those who criticized me (laughs). I won’t even think about all those people, I’ll be celebrating with my family, with the fans.
On Juan García Caballero [his late grandfather]: he’s someone who showed us what road to take in life, he showed us how to live a good life. There aren’t many who can do that, and I’m proud to have a grandfather who lived like that. I’m at peace knowing that he didn’t go to heaven until he saw his grandson triumph; perhaps the only thing he didn’t experience was seeing me lift the Champions League trophy. He was at the final of the World Cup, the Eurocopa, the Copa del Rey in Valencia. He taught me the spirit of overcoming, he always showed that and he instilled it in me when I was a kid. Even when he was in extremely poor health, when he could no longer travel, he still made every effort to come see his grandson. I’m left with this strength and a great pain when I speak about him, which is normal, given all that we learned from him and all the affection he gave us during his life.
On Paco de Lucía: a great loss for the world, for flamenco, for all those who love music. It was unexpected, as he died quite young. He was a master, one of those whom you thought would always be there, like Camarón. He showed us a philosophy of life with his music, and in that sense he will always be with us.
On his musical career: I’ve written songs for Canelita, one for his new record. I’ve always identified with the world of music. Writing songs is great, you use your life and experiences and it makes you happy for people you admire to sing your songs. Chaboli, Niña Pastori and I wrote a song for the national team, which will be out very soon and which I’m sure will be a huge success. We wrote it, and María [Niña Pastori] and I sing. It turned out really well, and we hope it will help La Roja. It’s called “Grita” (shout) and it’s an upbeat song composed with the national team and the fans in the stadiums in mind. Since we spend so much time traveling, I always have paper and a pen on hand to write down whatever comes to mind. But that’s all secondary right now. (Are you going to come out with a record?) No, at the moment no, although I love music. I love all genres, not just flamenco, and there are many artists whom I admire. I don’t rule it out. I’m not a bad singer, I put my heart into it.
On the music in the locker room: there’s always a mix. Flamenco, hip hop, songs in Portuguese that have a good rhythm, a bit of everything. (And Benzema?) He has his French rap songs. (And Jesé, did he put reggaeton?) The truth is that he has a lot of flow. It’s a shame what happened to Jesé. From what we were told, the operation went really well, and we’re really happy about that. It’s a shame because he was playing very well, he was contributing a lot, trying to earn a spot on the starting team which is not easy at all, he has tremendous potential. Luckily, he’s very young and has time to recover. No one doubts that Jesé and his talent will be with us for many years, and we will benefit from the footballer he is.
On fatherhood: there’s a before and after. I can’t say anything about it yet, because there’s still a month and some to go. But from what everyone has told me, it’s a different stage of life, but the best you could experience in your life, because the child is something that comes from you, he moves, he looks at you, he says his first word and… What else could you want from life?
These interviews always end with a test, and this one was no exception.
What city is Schalke (pronounced as Shalky) located in? Chalky? (Schalke!) Ah, in Germany, no? The city? I know it, but I’m not going to say it because you’re going to make fun of me.
What are three ingredients that go in salmorejo? Tomatoes, ehhh… what else? Onions and… peppers.
Morante, Morente or Morientes? Ufff, I’ll go with Morante de la Puebla and Enrique Morente.
Who is the better presenter, Pilar Rubio or Sara Carbonero? It’s clear that I have to go with my woman, no? Pilar Rubio.
Does the captain’s armband scare you or make you grow? It makes you grow.
Are you afraid that Crimea will be one of the teams in the next Eurocopa? Who writes these questions? No, I’m not afraid.
Who has bigger balls, Talavante in front of a bull or you taking a Panenka-style penalty? Talavante, he’s pretty sharp, no? Each one of us has our area of expertise.
Who is more of a brother to you, René or Diego Costa? René Ramos.
The 15 or the 4? I don’t know which to pick, I use 4 with Real Madrid and 15 with the national team, and have done well with both. Both are very important in my life.
Boy or girl? Boy. (What are you going to name him?) Perhaps we’ll name him after his father. But we haven’t decided yet.
And what happened with the young bull [referring to the Illarra incident]? We should have el niño de Mutriku, you and me on the poster. I don’t know if it will be this year, but when I retire, I’ll organize a bullfight in La Maestranza and another in Las Ventas with Talavante, Manzanares, Morante and Juli. You’re all invited.
They also ask him to make a prediction for el clásico, which will be sealed and opened on Sunday night.
Watch the video here. If you prefer the audio, it’s here. And here’s a gallery of photos, including enough hedgehogs to last the rest of your life. Speaking of terrible outfits, here’s another from last night. If Sergio and Cris inspire Karim Benzema to dig out that vest from the day of his presentation, I’ll have to stage an intervention with all of them. You’re all invited.
If I have time, I’ll add highlights from Diego López’s appearance on “El Larguero” to this post, and Pepe’s appearance on “Al Primer Toque.”
On whether he’s become more distant and aloof since he joined Madrid, compared to when he was at Villarreal [what an idiotic question]: I don’t think so. It’s also not completely up to me, I’m the same person, I don’t think I’ve changed at all, not on the personal or professional levels. I’m the same person, because that’s one of the values that brought me to where I am now. I just try and do my work.
On whether he feels under attack: I really do respect all of you [the media], you all have your viewpoints, your objectivity, your way of reporting things and judging. I can’t say anything about this, because it’s out of my control, and I just try and do my job, which is being a goalkeeper.
On his treatment by the press: since I arrived in Madrid, assuming you’re referring to this time around, I’ve felt very loved and very happy, at all moments. I don’t feel the treatment has been unjust… I have to accept both the criticism and the compliments.
On his support: I’m very lucky, I have a wife who supports and helps me very much, and my family does as well. They give me strength. They’re very happy. My father is a lifelong madridista, and my return to Madrid was like a gift for him, and for me as well.
On his relationship with Iker: we continue to have a good relationship. Before, we would go out to have a drink or for dinner, as we were in our early 20s back then. But now, we have families. The changes are because we got older, not because we don’t get along anymore. I admire and respect Iker a lot. We shared many moments when we were teammates before. Iker has never disrespected me, he has never said a bad word about me. Our relationship is natural and normal, we talk about many things everyday, our families, the team, etc., but not about his situation.
José Ramón de la Morena then goes on and on about Iker’s situation and their supposed rivalry, which is quite disrespectful. There are so many topics that he can discuss with Diego, rather than flogging a dead horse.
On Real Madrid: I have no words to describe Real Madrid. All Madrid footballers have to know that they represent a great club.
On becoming a fan favorite: I didn’t expect that, because the likes of Cristiano, Iker and Sergio are also here… this is a great club, and I’m very happy with how the fans are treating me. I know it’s very easy to make the fans happy, and I like doing that.
On Coentrão: he’s a very humble person, he comes from a small fishing village in Portugal, where people don’t have much. When he got to Madrid, which is very big compared to where he was born, he needed time to adapt, as he was also very scared. His family immigrated to France when he was young for work and left him behind, and he was raised by his aunt. These are things that happen. He works hard and he is dedicated to his profession, although it’s true that he hasn’t been lucky in some games. But he has done everything he can to triumph in Madrid, and I hope he does.
On what the veterans said to Illarramendi after that Batman bullfighting incident: (laughs) As the míster said, the club has its own rules on what types of behavior are not allowed, such as riding on motorcycles or skiing, and of course bullfighting. We joked a bit about it with him. He’s a boy with a great future ahead of him and a lot of quality. He’s learned from his mistakes. He thought that since he comes from such a small town, the photos would never see the light of day. But since this is Madrid, everything comes out.
On his friendship with Cristiano: many people think he’s arrogant and unpleasant. (I have to admit that I had this impression of him, and I said that many times on the radio. But one day I went to Portugal’s training camp during the Eurocopa, and what I saw was a completely different person.) Yes. He’s normal, and a great friend to his friends, there’s no doubt about that. He works very hard to reach his objectives, and when he doesn’t reach them, he gets pissed off. Everything he does is to improve his performance. He’ll shut himself off from the rest of the world to improve. Many people think he’s unpleasant, but no, Cristiano works hard and wants to win and make himself better and surpass himself. He’s a very nice person, he’s always giving gifts to the equipment managers and the physios, and he also helps many people. For example, he talks a lot with Jesé. He doesn’t have to, but he does because he knows that Jesé looks up to him, admires him, and is always asking him questions. Cristiano wants him to improve.
On the singular moment he’d choose from his career: the final of the Copa.
On why his nickname is Pepe when his real name is Képler: because it was very difficult for people in Brazil to pronounce my name, so my coach and the people in the club started calling me Pepón. Then my father said no, and decided that Pepe was better.
On what he would do if Portugal wins the World Cup: I don’t know. I really don’t know. I… would go to Fátima. (Have you talked with Iker, with Sergio, Xabi, Arbeloa, Albiol about what it’s like to win the World Cup?) Yes, we have talked about it. We congratulated them when they won.
On whether the team has planned a celebration for La Décima: no, we don’t have anything planned, we take things one game at a time.
On his routine before games: before going out onto the field, I like to spend a two to three minutes thanking God. I usually give my warm-up shirts to fans, so that they can bring home a souvenir from the game. I like to make their day.
On what caught his attention when he arrived in Madrid: when I arrived at the airport, my agent Jorge asked me if I was ready. He opened the door, and there were 500 people waiting for me. A journalist came up to me and asked me if I had the 30 million euros that Madrid paid for me in my suitcase. That was the first thing anyone said to me in Madrid. I thought, ¡Madre mía! What is waiting for me in Madrid? I will never forget this. (Do you know that you’re the only signing that Madrid announced on its website before any news outlet did?) No, I didn’t know that.
Who writes Sergio Ramos’ tweets? People want to know. I don’t know, I don’t know.
What is the strangest mania you’ve seen from a teammate? Robben, he always skipped inside the locker room, to warm up I suppose.
On how he started playing football: my mother was a teacher, my father a firefighter, but I became a footballer, starting with futsal. It’s due to my grandfather, who took me to the training sessions because it was closer to his house. I played futsal from the time I was four or five until 14.
On the anecdote with the coin and the machine: I’ve told this story many times, although different versions. The truth is that we didn’t have money to pay for transport to the training grounds, although my grandfather didn’t tell me that. I asked him for a one real coin, and I played it in a machine. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I selected the symbol for Croatia, and ended up winning 25 reales.
On the most surprising thing about the city of Madrid: the people are very affectionate. You go out to eat with your family, and the people are very affectionate with you. (You’ve been here for almost eight years, you must feel like a madrileño now.) Yes, of course, yes. I’ve been here since I was 18, and not just me, but also my wife and my brother-in-law, who came with me. We’ve been here a long time and we feel like we’re madrileños.
On being a captain: I never thought about that, because at the age of 22 or 23, you’re still very young in terms of football. Being one of the captains is a great responsibility, you’re a role model for children all around the world.
On his pets: I have six dogs. They’re like my daughters. When I get home, there’s always a party waiting for me. It makes me happy to see my dogs.
On friendship: for me, friendship is mutual confidence.
On who he would like to have a beer with: with my friend Caio [his best friend and brother-in-law], he’s always with me, we always talk about football and basketball, everything.
On the most unforgettable moment of his life: when I signed for Madrid. I didn’t believe it when they told me Madrid wanted to sign me.