Sergio Ramos is one of football’s ultimate big-game players.
The Real Madrid captain is 34 years old now but still produces talismanic performances for one of the world’s biggest clubs week-in, week-out.
The defender was an injury doubt ahead of Saturday’s Clasico against Barcelona but started at Camp Nou, much to the relief of Zinedine Zidane and every other Madridista.
And it was no surprise that Ramos made his mark against Madrid’s fiercest rivals.
He won and then scored the second-half penalty that put Madrid 2-1 up midway through the second half.
The scores were level at 1-1 at half-time (Ansu Fati cancelling out Fede Valverde’s fifth-minute opener), but Ramos’s goal was a killer blow for Ronald Koeman’s side.
Luka Modric then netted Madrid’s third goal of the afternoon in stoppage time.
Just before full-time, Ramos produced an unorthodox but incredible tackle on Messi, who was looking to get Barça back into the match.
Messi had got the better of Ramos with a clever turn in the first half, but the Madrid captain made amends late on with a wonderful piece of defending.
Watch Ramos’s tackle here…
That is outstanding.
He read Messi’s body swerve, reacted by placing his right leg behind his left and dispossessed the legendary forward in the process.
Here’s some of the reaction to Ramos’s tackle from social media…
Following Saturday’s penalty. Ramos has now scored a remarkable 99 goals in 656 games for Real Madrid.
He has also netted more La Liga goals than the likes of Luis Figo, Xavi and Zinedine Zidane.
What a player.
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