Real Madrid vs Shakhtar A doubt to face Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Madrid are on the verge of a mini-crisis after the loss to Cadiz and Sergio Ramos, despite his determination to return for Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Shakhtar, looks a major doubt. Zinedine Zidane will be looking for an urgent response from his team, after he called an emergency meeting with the players on Sunday, but could have to start the European campaign without his leader.
Real Madrid want to get off to the best possible start in the Champions League, after last season taught them the value of finishing top of the group, and the price of finishing second. After opening with a defeat in Paris, Madrid finished runners up in the group which led to them drawing Manchester City in the last 16, which is where their journey in the competition ended. The importance of Ramos in these big games cannot be overstated and Real Madrid know this well. In the last three seasons, a series of disasters have emphasised the captain’s vital importance in Europe’s premier competition.
19/20: Man City 2-1 Real Madrid
Going to the Etihad to try and turn around a first-leg defeat without the suspended Ramos was mission impossible for Madrid and saw them exit the competition.
19/20: PSG 3-0 Real Madrid
Ramos started and ended last season’s Champions League campaign suspended. In the group opener against PSG, in his absence, Madrid got off to the worst possible start with a painful thrashing.
18/19: Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax
With Madrid ahead in Amsterdam, Ramos picked up a tactical booking to miss the second leg and enter the quarter finals with a clean slate. An error of judgement from the captain who had to watch Ajax’s historic and emphatic comeback at the Bernabeu from the stands.
18/19: Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA Moscow
With Madrid already qualified for the last 16, Santiago Solari rested his captain for the final group match. Once again Ramos witnessed his teammates humiliated at home.
18/19: CSKA Moscow 1-0 Real Madrid
Same season, different coach, same consequence for resting Sergio Ramos in Europe.
17/18: Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus
Perhaps the origin of this curse. Ramos missed this quarter-final second leg through suspension, but Madrid, who won the first leg 3-0, still managed to scrape through thanks to a late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.