Sergio Ramos never ceases to demonstrate his full worth for Real Madrid, serving as a set-piece specialist as well as talisman defender.
Signing from Sevilla in 2005, the Andalusian centre-back has a knack of plucking his side from danger or unfavourable circumstances.
After securing one of football’s greatest comeback in the Champions League, title contenders Barcelona slipped up against relegation-battling Deportivo La Coruna, gifting Los Blancos the golden opportunity to go two-points clear at the La Liga summit with a game in hand.
With the game level at 1-1 in Sunday’s encounter, the 2010 World Cup winner struck a late winner to confirm why he is Real Madrid’s undisputed saviour.
Here, we take a look at five moments the Spaniard took matters into his own hands to rescue the Galacticos.
Napoli 1 – 3 Real Madrid (2016/2017)
Real Madrid travelled to Naples looking to add to their two-goal cushion from the first leg, but the Partenopei had other plans. A superb passage of play saw Dries Mertens blast the ball past Keylor Navas to reduce the deficit to one goal. The Neapolitans almost scored a second after the Belgian forward narrowly missed the target.
An upset seemed on the cards early in the second half, but two aerial duels won by Sergio Ramos found their way into the net and the Spanish side ran out 3-1 winners to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Real Madrid 3 – 2 Deportivo La Coruna (2013/2014)
Fans at the Santiago Bernabeu were in panic mode when Deportivo’s Joselu double cancelled out Alvaro Morata’s first half goal. In a cauldron bubbling with mixed emotions, despair turned to hope when Mariano Diaz levelled the scoreline at 2-2 with six minutes remaining.
With a draw looking certain, up stepped Sergio Ramos to convert a late back-post header as Real Madrid clinched victory. Thanks to their captain’s effort, Los Merengues went down in the history books for setting a new club record of 35 unbeaten matches.
Barcelona 1 – 1 Real Madrid (2016/2017)
Sitting six points adrift of their Catalan rivals, Real Madrid travelled to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona in a potential title decider. However, Luis Suarez’s opener early in the second half seemed to spell certain victory for Luis Enrique’s side as Neymar went close to doubling their advantage 20 minutes from the end.
Barcelona’s dominance over their historic rivals wasn’t put into question, but during the dying moments of the game, Luka Modric sent a cleverly weighed ball into the box and Ramos nodded home the all-time important equaliser.
GOLES EN ÚLTIMOS MINUTOS | Sergio Ramos le marcaba al Barcelona a los 89' en el último clásico. pic.twitter.com/uFoiBEhD4d— Encuestas de Fútbol (@Encuesta5Futbol) January 25, 2017
Real Madrid 3 – 2 Sevilla (2016/2017)
Born and raised in Sevilla, Ramos moved up the ranks of Los Blanquirrojos’ youth academy before sealing an eventual move northwards to Madrid. Speaking in a thick Andalusian accent, his memory at the Pizjuan may have been forever tarnished after an animate celebration following his Panenka penalty during the Copa del Rey tie in January.
That is not to say the Sevilla faithful may have already been upset when his goal, again in injury time, was enough for Real to gather their energy for extra-time in the UEFA Super Cup. Dani Carvajal netted the winning goal as the Galacticos lifted their first trophy of the season.
Real Madrid 4 – 1 Atletico Madrid (2013/2014)
Real Madrid and Barcelona will always remain eternal rivals, but in recent seasons neighbouring club Atletico Madrid have upset the status quo.
After winning the La Liga title the previous week, Simeone almost secured an unanticipated double when his side led 1-0 for the majority of the 2013/2014 Champions League final against Real Madrid. It looked as though the Atleti name was going to be carved into the cup, but a stoppage time header from Ramos sent the game into extra-time. The goals poured in shortly after as Real clinched their tenth Champions League trophy.