Paris Saint-Germain’s Sergio Ramos reflected on “another learning experience” after finally making his long-awaited debut for his new club.
Ramos signed for PSG as a free agent in July after ending a trophy-laden 16-year stint with Real Madrid.
However, the 35-year-old was made to wait for his PSG bow, having to first overcome a calf issue that has plagued his year.
After making the bench for Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Manchester City, Ramos started alongside Marquinhos in the heart of PSG’s defence on Sunday, helping Mauricio Pochettino’s team labour to a 3-1 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne in Ligue One.
It was only the sixth appearance Ramos has made in all competitions across 2021 – the last time the centre-back played was in Madrid’s defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals in May. There had even been talk PSG were considering terminating the defender’s contract.
Ramos’ appearances have totalled just 485 minutes, and he looked understandably rusty at times in the snow against Saint-Etienne.
He was at least partly at fault for Denis Bouanga’s opener when he failed to attack Wahbi Khazri’s cross, though PSG battled back through two Marquinhos goals and Angel Di Maria’s strike – all three of their goals teed up by Lionel Messi.
Looking back on his debut, Ramos tweeted: “A win and a return to the pitch. You have no idea how I have longed for this! It has been a difficult few months.
“Lots of uncertainty, lots of changes and, worst of all, the pain of not being able to do what I love most: play football. But that’s all behind me now.
“Another learning experience. It’s time now to look forward with optimism and ambition.
“Thank you to everyone who has been there with kind words and encouragement, especially my family whose support has always been unconditional. On we go, there’s more to come!”
Ramos finished the match with 101 passes, the most of any player, with 95 reaching their target (an accuracy of 94.1 per cent).
Only Di Maria (113) had more touches than Ramos’ 110, while the Spain international won five of his seven duels, made three tackles and a joint team-high two interceptions.
At 35 years and 243 days, Ramos became the oldest outfield player to make his first appearance for PSG in Ligue 1 since David Beckham (37 years and 298 days against Marseille in February 2013).
While Ramos appears to have put his injury troubles behind him, PSG were dealt a blow late on, with Neymar having to be taken off on a stretcher.
Replays showed the Brazil forward going over painfully on his left ankle, and he could be facing a long spell on the sidelines.