Sergio Ramos shared his thoughts on the Champions League final, which will be played on the 26th May between Real Madrid and Liverpool, in an official interview with UEFA. The Real Madrid captain spoke about the road to the third consecutive final: “It has been one of the toughest roads to the final and you have to give it extra value. This has pushed us forward to try to win the final which we know is difficult”.
- Let’s start off by looking at the Champions League run you have had this year because PSG, Juventus and Bayern are undoubtedly three of the best and this has been a difficult set of knockout ties.Yes. This was one of the hardest ways to reach the final and we must give it extra value for having overcome teams like PSG, Juve and Bayern, who were also big favourites to win the title. That has strengthened us. Emotionally, we’re going into a final that will be very hard.
- How do you think the final is going to go and how do you think Liverpool will play?They will be a tricky team to face. Liverpool have done so well to reach this final and they have top quality players. They are a talented, technical side with pace, they can do a lot of damage to any team. We need to counteract that so that both Salah and Mané or Firmino, players who are quick, forward-thinking and difficult to control, are marked well and that cannot have that moment of inspiration, because they can cause us problems. We know where they can hurt us and we will try do similar things, we have player with similar characteristics. We can punish them and we need to do that as best we can.
- And how do you do that? Are you looking at the game in any special way or or just as you would in any game?Fortunately for us we know what the Champions League final entails. We have played several in recent years and we know the great impact it can have and how much of a struggle it is to get here. We need to value it and bear that all in mind. We will look to play a focussed match and keep pour concentration because any detail makes a difference in this type of matches. Hopefully we win another Champions League title for our fans.
- If you think of the final in Kiev, what kind of challenges do you think Liverpool will present you with?I think this is going to be the toughest final we have ever had. We would never underestimate Liverpool, thinking they’re weaker than other teams, because they definitely are not. They have earned their right to play in this final because of their performances. They have played well and have eliminated great teams. It’s been a while since they reached their last final, but it’s a club with a special history and they know how to play on big occasions. We will have to give our very best at all levels, not just physically. They’re an English club, they never give up. They do not just rely on their physical strength, they are also technically gifted, they have pace and some great players.
- You are going to play in Kiev, it’s a stadium that you know well. You won Euro 2012 there with Spain, so it must conjure some brilliant memoriesYou’re right, I have some very fond memories, great memories of that stadium. We were crowned European champions and it that will always have a special place for me. Hopefully we can continue with that good luck that the national side had and we can lift our third consecutive Champions League trophy, I think that’s the dream for all Real Madrid fans.
- What would it mean to win the Champions League three times in a row? What’s going through your mind?In the end it’s a dream and a goal that you have there, but you still don’t know what it feels like. In football things go so fast that you don’t have time to enjoy every moment as you should. I believe that we have to be committed and believe in our team, a team that always put its heart and soul into every competition in which we play. Now we have that reward of being able to enjoy another final. I hope we win because it wouldn’t just be winning another title, it’d be another Champions League. It would be time to recognise that this is a team that will be remembered, something that perhaps at the moment some people to recognise.
- You’re one of the fortunate few to have lifted up the Champions League. In those moments is there something you think about?Well, when the referee blows the whistle, it gives you the chance to appreciate and remember the lonely life that a football player has at specific moments, spending time together with the team, in lots of hotels, a lot of time away from your family. When I lift it up, I remember all of them. Because everyone has given me something that makes me get my best on those occasions.
- Since Zidane arrived in January 2016, you have won two consecutive Champions Leagues and you’re looking for the third one…I don’t know if there’s a secret, but what would be the strengths and how have you seen the team mature over these two and a half years?Zizou speaks for himself. He already did as a player and now he’s doing it as a coach. He’s been able to bring the talent he had as a footballer in to management. He’s managed to lead when directing and managing a changing room like ours. He’s done it in a fantastic and unique way. And, in the end, the results are not a coincidence. He’s a coach who, despite spending very little time in the elite, has adapted perfectly. We’re delighted that he’s in charge. Hopefully it’ll be for a long time, because we believe in him. We believe in the work he does and I think he’s also happy with the squad he has.
- Real Madrid and the Champions League go hand in hand. A name is said and the other one is associated. What does the Champions League mean to you? And for the club and for the fans? What do you think that the relationship you have is?It’s a different feeling. You can feel the Champions League in every game, in the atmosphere. Not only inside the Bernabéu, but around it. When you play a Champions League game, people are already breathing differently. We’re the team that has won the Champions League the most and it’s no coincidence. For us it’s a stimulus, I don’t know if its greater or different, but it shows. When people hear that music before they start the game, that Champions League anthem…I don’t know what it is, but I think they go hand in hand. There’s a different connection.