Sergio Ramos has been left out of Spain’s squad for this summer’s European Championship after almost two decades of involvement in the national team setup, full of memories, records and stories.
In February 2002, Jose Armando Ufarte, then-Spain under-16 coach, called up 18 players for a tournament in Portugal and only one squad member saw no minutes on the pitch: Sergio Ramos.
In December of the same year, under-17 boss Juan Santisteban gave Ramos his first game in a Spain jersey in a 2-1 defeat away to Portugal.
The then-Sevilla player played poorly and has explained why he was out of sorts and what the consequence was.
“The second call-up came quickly, this time with the under-17s in preparation for the Meridian Cup which was to be played in Egypt,” tells Ramos on his official website.
“I spent the night before the game throwing up, but I didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t get what happened before out of my head.
“I thought that if I didn’t play I would lose my chance and perhaps the call-up for the Meridian Cup.”
Ramos kept his condition to himself and tried to play through it, but the truth came to light and along with it the punishment.
“I didn’t say anything. I played and gave everything, but I went back into the dressing room feeling very dizzy,” said Ramos.
“My teammates were worried about me and the gaffer showed me that the team always comes first.
“I missed out on the trip to Egypt, but it was an experience and a lesson which made me grow as a player and a person.”
Some 19 years later, Ramos is experiencing the disappointment of missing a trip with the national team again after Luis Enrique‘s decision to leave the country’s most-capped player behind for this summer’s European Championship.
Ramos is also the player in world football with the most international games won, and he is only five caps short of being the most capped footballer of all time.
The 35-year-old won’t be reaching that milestone just yet, but, once again, he may get another chance, this time in October when the Nations League Final Four comes around.