The Sergio Ramos era

Thirty-three-year-old Sergio Ramos is living history in Spain’s squad. On Saturday he’ll leave Iker Casillas‘ 167 caps behind him and claim his 168th as he still aims for 200.

The centre-back debuted on March 26, 2005 in a friendly against China, since playing in four World Cups and three European Championships.

He’s gone on to win two European Championships and one World Cup with La Roja, scoring 21 goals, claiming 125 wins and only suffering 20 defeats.

Luis Aragones chose him first after winning the Under-19 European Championship in 2004 and playing six games for the Under-21s.

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Then Vicente del Bosque played him, as did Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique, which Robert Moreno has continued.

“We’ve found an excellent full-back,” said Del Bosque, “but one with a logical transition to the centre of defence.

“He’s seemed older from a very young age, has a unique enthusiasm for challenges and that’s very useful in his team and for the national team.”

Del Bosque took the first steps towards using him as a central defender alongside Gerard Pique in the absence of Carles Puyol.

Puyol wasn’t there and one day, before training in Poland,” Del Bosque remembered, “I talked to them both.

“I told them they were good, handsome, they had everything and if they got along then we’d win.

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“It was an informal conversation, but the understood what had to be done.

Then came Lopetegui, who also saw importance in their partnership.

“Sergio gives us a lot,” the now-Sevilla boss said.

“He’s great physically and technically, I don’t see any end to his stay in the elite.

“I don’t know how to set a date for his end. His level is still very high.”

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Fernando Hierro was coach at the 2018 World Cup, and the ex-Real Madrid defender had similar praise.

“His numbers are outrageous and that’s not counting the time ahead for him to do more,” Hierro said.

“He’s a player with no limits and a great winning gene with the ambition to improve daily.”

Luis Enrique continued with the defender, as has Robert Moreno.

“He wants to play until he’s 40,” the latter revealed.

“If he wants it, he’ll do it. Everything he’s doing is incredible.

“I can only speak good things about him because his behaviour is exceptional.”

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