Football

Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos: Big ambitions in the Champions League and the Olympics

Spanish football great Ramos is gearing up for Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final against Chelsea, with the Euros and the Olympics on the horizon this summer.

By Ken Browne ·

Winning is second nature to football superstar Sergio Ramos, but even with one World Cup, two European Championships, four Champions League titles, four Club World Cups, three European Super Cups, five La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey crowns in the bag, he still wants more.

"I’m thinking about the fifth Champions League, the World Cup, the Olympics...," the Real Madrid star said during the Amazon Prime documentary La Leyenda de Sergio Ramos (The Legend of Sergio Ramos).

Real Madrid host Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday 27 April and Ramos is amping up his preparations to be able to play the second match in London on 5 May.

After overcoming COVID-19 in April, knee surgery in February and a calf injury that have kept him out of action for an entire month, the 35-year-old Spain and Real Madrid captain is aiming to lead los blancos out in his 16th Champions League semi-final, taking him level with Xavi Hernandez and one ahead of Thomas Müller and Lionel Messi in appearances at this stage of the competition.

Only Xabi Alonso (17) and Cristiano Ronaldo (21) have played in more.

Madrid face a Chelsea team rejuvenated by the arrival of Thomas Tuchel on the manager's bench, riding a wave of confidence having lost just twice under their new man - one of them the quarter-final second leg against Porto.

Meanwhile the Merengues have found their stride too, disposing of Liverpool in the Champions League before claiming El Clasico against arch-rivals Barcelona to keep their league hopes alive.

Having Ramos back in action for the business end of the season would give them a huge boost and it would be yet another amazing achievement for Ramos in a long and glittering career.

And if Real Madrid do overcome Chelsea to make their first Champions League final in four years, it won't be the end for Ramos as a busy summer awaits and the one title he still hasn't won yet is on the line:

An Olympic gold medal.

Sergio Ramos to play at Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

A lifetime ago, in December 2019, Ramos said that he couldn't say no to a chance to captain the Spanish team to Olympic glory, and win the only major medal missing from his impressive trophy room.

If Ramos is invited by Olympic coach Luis de la Fuente, he would be one of three over-24 players allowed to play according to Olympic rules.

"If someone was to call me, I wouldn't say no," Ramos said when asked if he'd like to play at the Olympics. "It's something you can't reject. There's a lot of time left in the season and it's a really nice idea."

Then again, that was before COVID-19 caused chaos and both UEFA Euro 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed to a year later.

Spain have qualified for Euro 2020 and have been drawn in Group E with Sweden, Poland, and Slovakia, a group they'll be expected to progress from and have a tilt at the title this summer.

But even if La Roja go all the way to the final and win the competition, the Euros final is scheduled for 11 July and the Olympic football competition runs from 21 July – 7 August 2021, meaning that it is feasible for Ramos to play both.

At the Olympics Spain have been drawn in Group C with Egypt, Argentina, and Australia.

Ramos is still in the running for the Tokyo team, de la Fuente responded when asked about the matter at the end of last year.

"Yes, we're still considering players like Sergio or Jordi Alba for Tokyo. It makes me proud that those players who have won everything, want to be with us.

"We will have to wait for the right time to make the final decision because many things can happen in the final months. I can't speculate about whether Ramos or any other player will come. It's pointless," said de la Fuente.

It also may come down to Ramos' state of fitness and his own desire to play two tournaments in one summer at 35 as speculation swirls over where he'll play his football next season.

The centre-back has not yet signed a new contract with Real Madrid and may be on the move this summer.

Despite all this, Ramos is a born winner and could jump at the chance to play in the greatest sporting event on the planet with a chance to further burnish his legacy as one of the greatest Spanish players of all time.

First up though, it's Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final.

Sergio Ramos has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid.

Champions League semi-final: PSG-Manchester City

While Ramos' Real Madrid are aiming to leave Chelsea behind, the other titanic semi-final clash looks like a classic in the making too.

Last season's beaten finalists PSG had their revenge over Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals and now face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

While City stuttered in the first half of the season, the astute signing of Portuguese defender Ruben Dias and the reemergence of John Stones as a defensive force have seen them steamroll their way to the Champions League semi-finals without losing a single game.

PSG have shored up their team too and look a tight and together unit under new coach Mauricio Pochettino, the lesser-heralded names like Kimpembe, Diallo, and Gueye providing a new solidity, giving their megastars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar the perfect platform to tear teams apart on the break.

Then again, City aren't exactly wanting in the attacking department either, Phil Foden is having the season of his career, Ilkay Gundogan cannot stop scoring, and they also have the pace, creativity and dazzle of Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Stirling, and Bernardo Silva.

Two mouth-watering ties will decide this season's Champions League final which will be held in Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium on Saturday 29 May, before a full summer of football takes us all the way through to next season.

Who needs holidays?