Ramos targeting Qatar 2022 with 'white beard'

Even if he has to take to the field with a "white beard", Spain captain Sergio Ramos says he plans to play on until the next World Cup.

"I would like to continue for quite a few years because I am leaving with a terrible grief," said Sergio Ramos after Spain's round-of-16 exit on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Spain captain Sergio Ramos insists he will continue to represent his country, even if he has to play at the next World Cup with a "white beard".

Ramos scored his penalty but Spain suffered a stunning shoot-out exit against hosts Russia following a 1-1 draw in Moscow on Sunday.

The Real Madrid centre-back will be 36 by the time the next World Cup starts, with the tournament set to be held in Qatar. But Ramos is not ready to follow Andres Iniesta into international retirement after the Barcelona icon confirmed he is stepping away from Spain.

READ: Iniesta announces retirement after Spain's ouster

"I would like to continue for quite a few years because I am leaving with a terrible grief," Ramos said. "I am going to be forced to arrive in Qatar with a white beard. Maybe we have not arrived at the best moment, but we're leaving without losing.

"There are no words, as a captain I am proud of my team-mates, we have done everything possible, we have to get up. It's a hard blow, it can be lost in many ways, today I'm proud because I've felt 11 lions in the field."

Spain's sacking of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup potentially acted as a major distraction, with the coach set to lead Ramos at Madrid next term.

But Ramos would not criticise the decision to replace Lopetegui with Fernando Hierro, and dismissed suggestions that negative press attention was behind Spain's disappointing tournament.

ALSO READ: Spain's unbeaten run a fruit of Julen's hard work says Hierro after last-16 exit

"We would have liked to have more support, trust and affection but it has not affected us," Ramos added. "Today's result is not due to the press, we may have become ill-equipped to win.

"I am not a supporter of [coaching] changes and we have felt very comfortable with Hierro, we would not mind if he continued.

"I would have liked Andres [Iniesta] to have taken another memory of his last World Cup. It's a shame, football sometimes pays you with this currency.

"There are players to keep going, we were ready to die with Hierro, thank him for having taken on such a daring role, responsibility, he has done very well."

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