So far 2021 has been a nightmare year for Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
Having seen his contract run down, undergoing surgery and playing little, while Real Madrid went an entire season without a trophy, arguably the hardest pill for the 35-year-old to take came on Monday, as he was not included in Spain’s squad for the European Championship.
Here, we look at the factors behind the hardest year of the legendary Real Madrid captain’s hardest career to date.
This season, Ramos has seen the final year of his contract run down to the point that he now stands just five weeks away from the end of his contract and with few suitors from abroad.
With president Florentino Perez refusing to budge on his contract offer, it looks as though Ramos will accept it to head into his 17th season for Los Blancos.
Only two LaLiga Santander matches so far in 2021
Ramos has spent the majority of the year watching his team from the sidelines. His two appearances in LaLiga Santander came against Osasuna on January 9 and Elche on March 13.
Stomach problems were followed by a knee injury which required surgery in February. He returned to the side in the Champions League second leg to Atalanta, before an injury on international duty saw his year truly unravel.
A psoas injury and positive COVID-19 test meant that his return came on May 5 in the defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where his below-par performance has seen him remain on the substitute’s bench as his side missed out on the LaLiga Santander title on the final day to Atletico Madrid.
Three matches away from the international record
As Ramos‘ chances of representing Spain at the European Championship this summer disappeared, so did the opportunity for him to break his most significant international appearances record yet at the tournament.
Ramos, who has made 181 international appearances for Spain, sits just three off of Hassan Ahmed, the Egyptian on 184 appearances, the record for international appearances.
Now, Ramos must not only be worried about not breaking the record at this tournament, but he must wonder if he will ever have the chance to do so.
Prepare for next season or the Olympic Games?
Whilst Ramos has previously expressed his desire to compete in the Olympic Games, with the chance to win both the European Championships and the Olympics in the same summer, it now looks as though he will not be selected for the Olympics either.
Luis Enrique has encouraged Ramos to spend the summer looking after himself and recovering both physically and mentally and it looks as though Ramos will take this course of action.
With the opportunity to return next season better than ever, ahead of the World Cup in Qatar and the chance to bring trophies back to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu once more, Ramos has the chance to ensure that the worst period of his career to date is nothing more than a distant memory.