Spain head coach Luis Enrique grabbed headlines after he excluded Sergio Ramos from his final 26-man squad for the Qatar World Cup.
Ramos, who has played four World Cups for Spain, winning the tournament in 2010, has been one of Las Roja’s most dependable players over the years. Apart from the World Cup, he has also won two European Championships with his country in 2008 and 2012. With 180 caps, Ramos is also the most capped player in the history of the Spanish national team.
If Ramos has been selected for the World Cup squad, it would have been his fifth World Cup- a record only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will enjoy among active players barring unforeseen circumstances.
Why was Sergio Ramos missing from the FIFA World Cup 2022?
Over the years in Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos not only shaped himself as one of the best defenders in football but a terrific leader. Known for his rash attitude and hot-headedness, Ramos has picked up 28 red cards throughout his career.
However, when it came to protecting or standing up for his teammates on the pitch, few can do it better than the experienced Spanish defender.
So, an obvious question is despite all the experience Ramos brings in, why has Enrique kept him out of Spain’s World Cup squad?
Even if Ramos was selected for the squad, he would not have been a guaranteed starter. At 36, he is past his prime, and Enrique would have most likely gone with Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres. Also, despite his string of unimpressive performances for Barcelona, Enrique has taken a liking to Eric Garcia, which puts him in contention as well.
But, even if Ramos was not a regular starter, he is a very good option to have on the bench. Also, his experience and leadership qualities would have been a good asset to have in the World Cup.
Ramos has been plagued with injuries since his last days with Real Madrid.
He was a rare presence on the pitch during his final days with Madrid, which led to his move to Paris Saint-Germain. Even for PSG in his first year, Ramos watched most of the games from the stands.
Therefore, a big reason why Enrique might not have chosen Ramos is that he just did not feel he could depend on Ramos being at his best on football’s biggest stage, owing to his lack of consistency.
Also, Valencia’s Hugo Guillamon’s good form might have been a major reason why Enrique felt he deserved a chance alongside fellow defenders Laporte, Garcia and Torres.
Ramos does not have any known injury problems now and was well available for selection. A player who is so decorated with Spain will not have his last hurrah at football’s grandest stage. Football is undoubtedly the ‘beautiful game’, but it is also a cruel one.