Sergio Ramos: When Real Madrid icon was banned for deliberately getting booked vs Ajax

  • Kobe Tong

Sergio Ramos is something of an expert when it comes to the dark arts of football.

In the realm of general sneakiness in the interest of winning games by any means necessary, you can be pretty certain that the Real Madrid legend is one of the most proficient in the business.

From winding up Barcelona players at every given moment to injuring Mohamed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final, Ramos isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in the pursuit of victory.

Ramos’ Champions League dark arts

However, despite Ramos’ penchant for s***housery having worked out for the most part, there have been instances where the Paris Saint-Germain defender has been on the receiving end of karma.

In fact, one of Ramos’ most recent dances with the dark arts actually saw him banned bu UEFA and it remains, in our eyes, one of the most unique moments in the Champions League history.

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Cast your minds back to the 2018/19 campaign as Los Blancos are starting to deal with life without Cristiano Ronaldo, but are nonetheless ticking over fine by progressing in Europe’s top competition.

The holders were drawn against Ajax in the round of 16 and looked to be handling the two-legged tie with ease when they score a late goal at the Johan Cruyff Arena to go 2-1 up.

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Banned for getting a yellow card ‘on purpose’

Goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio either side of a Hakim Ziyech strike had clearly given Ramos the upmost confidence that they would be progressing to the quarter-final.

And we say that because, according to the BBC, UEFA found the Real Madrid captain guilty “for clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose,” due to a foul on Kasper Dolberg in the 89th minute.

To say that the tackle was both cynical and unsubtle would be the mother of all understatements with commentators suspecting at the time that Ramos had used the tackle as a deliberate ploy.

Ramos was duly handed a two-match ban having seemingly confirmed to the media after the game that the booking was deliberate, saying he would “be lying if I said I didn’t force [the booking]”.

What was Ramos trying to achieve?

Ok, so that’s all well and good, but why would Ramos possibly want a yellow card in the first place?

Well, the idea was that Ramos would rather pick up his yellow card suspension there and then to miss the second leg as opposed to a potentially more important match further down the line.

However, the plan to enter the quarter-finals with a clean slate was rendered useless by the resulting two-match ban and, well, the fact that Real Madrid didn’t even qualify for the final eight.


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Yes, that’s right, as if to raise yet another middle finger to Ramos’ dark arts, Ajax pulled off one of the all-time great Champions League performances with an iconic 4-1 win at the Bernabeu.

Sometimes even the masters of the dark arts can’t pull the rabbit out of the hat every time.



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