Sergio Ramos arrived at Real Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 for a record 27 Million Euros. Since then the Spaniard has gone and established himself as a legend not only of Real Madrid but also of world football. He has cemented his place amongst the greatest defenders of all time with an unmatched passion and desire to win. Last minute winners, goal-saving tackles, aggression, leadership, Real Madrid owe so much to their captain. However, age catches up with everyone and the Madrid centre back may be going quite well at the age of 34, the search of an heir must be well underway.
Can De Ligt replace Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid?
Florentino Perez has started to follow the policy of going for youth to replace the big-name players at the club rather than going for already established superstars. Vinicius, Rodrygo, Valverde, Jovic being some successful examples. So, we can expect the same in Ramos’ case. Europe has seen some promising centre backs step up and deliver outstanding performances. Dayot Upamecano, Presnel Kimpembe, Jules Kounde, Matthijs De Ligt have all proved that they can become best defenders of the next generation. That said and done, replacing Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid is another challenge which requires not only a brilliant tactical understanding of the game but also a strong character and ability to motivate others. One of the amazing qualities that Ramos possesses which has put him a level above his contemporaries is his ability to lead and dominate a group full of stars. He might not deliver a ten on ten every match but his continuous encouragement never fades. Sometimes this is what is needed to put an extra effort to ensure success.
Finding the ideal replacement
Considering the leadership qualities needed in the ideal Ramos’ replacement, the pool of potential candidates narrows down massively. The only major player that fills the criteria is perhaps Matthijs De Ligt. The Dutch centre back is only 21 years old and has shown enough evidence that he can become the best centre back in the years to come. The young defender matches the aggression that Ramos has on the pitch. This can be seen from the high numbers in fouls committed and the volume of defensive duels.
The Analytical Study
Ramos and De Ligt commit a high number of fouls with Ramos committing 1.6 fouls per 90 minutes in 2019/20 while the latter committing 1.1 fouls per 90 minutes. This shows the aggressiveness with which both the centre backs operate. Madrid operate with a trio of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Ramos to switch the play, so this should be kept in mind while looking at ideal replacements since the switch of play acquires an important role in Madrid’s game plan. De Ligt although didn’t have great statistics regarding switches and long balls last season but his switching ability was quite evident during his time at Ajax. Another plus point with De Ligt is his prowess from set pieces. It is a common knowledge that Sergio Ramos has always been a huge threat from corners and free kicks and his goals have come in handy for the Los Blancos over the years. De Ligt displayed his proficiency in scoring goals from set pieces with crucial goals in 2018/19 campaign against Tottenham and Juventus. This type of scoring ability would be more than welcome at Real Madrid. So, it can be easily concluded that De Ligt might not be the perfect match for Sergio Ramos as far as the numbers are concerned but he is more than capable of replacing him at Madrid without a major change in the game plan.
The Final Say
Sergio Ramos hasn’t been the cleanest defender ever neither he has been the perfect textbook defender but what separates him from others is his dedication to the game and his longevity. With multiple individual and team achievements he has shown that even for a club like Real Madrid it will be near to impossible to replace him. In De Ligt, Madrid will get a readymade captain who is ready to achieve many accolades in the future along with a terrific defender to lead Madrid’s backline for years to come. At 19 years of age, the Dutch prodigy led his Ajax side all the way to Champions League semi finals seeing away the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus catching the eyes of world’s biggest clubs and ultimately Juventus pounced upon the opportunity to grab his services. However, when Real Madrid calls its difficult even for a club like Juventus to keep the player. Florentino Perez would be aware of the fact that Madrid’s greatest rivals, Barcelona nearly signed De Ligt last summer and might well go again in the future. So, it’s up to the Los Blancos to act fast and acquire world’s future best centre back before its too late.