Real Madrid midfield star Toni Kroos has stuck up for his Whites team-mate Sergio Ramos, claiming that the centre-back did nothing wrong following his controversial challenge with Mohamed Salah in last month’s Champions League final.
The iconic Los Blancos and Spain captain was derided after his first-half tackle on the Liverpool hero which left the Egyptian with a serious shoulder injury and forced Jurgen Klopp to substitute the 25-year-old.
But Kroos feels the stick the cult defender has received has been unfair and he believes Ramos is “not an aggressive player”.
Speaking to Augsburger Allgemeine whilst on international duty with Germany ahead of the World Cup, Kroos said: “I am quite sure that Sergio had no intention of hurting Salah.
“He is not an aggressive player and I am proud that he is our captain at Real Madrid.”
Ramos has come in for fierce criticism after the Real captain was involved in two key incidents as he led his side to a 3-1 victory over the Premier League outfit in Kiev last month.
The Spain defender was involved in a tangle with Mohamed Salah which led to Liverpool’s top goalscorer having to be substituted with a shoulder injury.
Then earlier this week it was suggested a challenge by Ramos on Loris Karius gave the Reds goalkeeper a concussion and played a part in two huge mistakes which led to goals for Madrid.
Tests confirmed that Karius sustained a concussion during the 90 minutes and doctors say that it was likely he instantly felt its effects, but did not clarify if the collision with Ramos had been the cause.
Ramos spoke about the criticism he had received and played down both incidents.
His former team-mate Salgado, however, offered his own take on the claims against the Spain captain.
“First of all I find it funny what they say about the concussion or whatever,” he said at the Betfair Road to Russia Preview.
“Poor guy, I was really sad what happened to the guy, firstly as a professional I didn’t like to see a young guy making those big mistakes.
“Obviously I know how he struggled after the game with the fans and with his family, I can imagine what he has been through for sure. But it is stupid to justify that with a concussion when nothing happened.”
Salgado insists Ramos will not carry any of the scrutiny into the World Cup and also defended his part in Salah’s injury.
“Ramos won’t even think about it, he doesn’t even care,” he added.
“Even the Salah thing is stupid, there is no intention to do that. When it is a 50-50 and players like Salah, with that character and personality, and a defender like Ramos in a big competition, you will always go 100 per cent.
“He got caught on his shoulder but it could have been the other way around, it was a key moment for the final, that is why Liverpool tried to complain because the injury affected the game but there is no intention at all.
“I know Sergio Ramos, he arrived at Real Madrid when he was just 18 years old.
“We could feel that he had the personality and character to be a real Real Madrid player and a Spanish leader.
“Now he is more mature and nothing is going to affect him to be honest, whatever they say it is not really fair but as a big leader and a skipper of the team he will cope with that, no problem at all.”
Real Madrid‘s Moroccan ace Achraf Hakimi is wanted by Napoli, Football Italia reports.
The 19-year-old versatile defender, who is set to star at the World Cup for his country, enjoyed a breakthrough season at Los Blancos – making 17 appearances in total.
However, the young starlet is not guaranteed regular action next season and the Partenopei have identified the Madrid-born full-back as a man they want to bring to the club.
The Serie A side, who are now managed by Carlo Ancelotti, feel the emerging Whites talent could act as a replacement for Albanian Elseid Hysaj.
Indeed, Zinedine Zidane‘s departure has cast doubts over the futures of players he brought through the youth system.