Sergio Ramos insists Real Madrid can still mount an unlikely title charge following Saturday’s morale-boosting Clasico victory at the Nou Camp.
Despite being sent off for the 20th time in his Real Madrid career, club captain Sergio Ramos exuded the new-found confidence around the camp as he reflected on the 2-1 win.
Madrid are still seven points behind Barca with just seven games remaining – and the gap is effectively eight points with the Catalans also holding the head to head advantage between the teams. But Ramos believes an unlikely league title is still possible.
He said: “Now we’re seven points behind, there will be people who consider La Liga closer and a possibility. As long as there is a chance, and as long as there are points available, Real Madrid must fight. They are three important points gained on Barcelona, our strongest rival, and it’s great for us mentally going into the final stage of the season.”
Ramos was dismissed on 83 minutes, earning a yellow card for a rough challenge on Luis Suarez after already being booked for dissent. But that did nothing to alter his team’s late dominance and, with Casemiro filling in at centre back, they proceeded to score a late winner through Cristiano Ronaldo in a rousing finale.
And Ramos joked that his teammates looked better off without him, smiling: “When you get sent off with not long left, you are nervous. But If I’d known how well we would play with 10 men, I would have got myself sent off after five minutes!
“The pride and commitment the boys showed when they went a man down fills you with satisfaction. This victory tastes glorious.”
More realistic than a league title, however, are Madrid’s ambitions to be crowned European champions for the 11th time.
Los Blancos have been handed a kind draw against mid-table Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg, with the first leg in Germany on Wednesday. And although most members of the Bernabeu dressing room are attempting to strike a balance between optimism and realism, one player has broken ranks by claiming his team are on track to win the tournament.
Striker Jese Rodriguez, who delivered a strong performance from the bench as a replacement for Karim Benzema at the Nou Camp, struck a highly positive note as he argued: “This victory gives us confidence going into Wednesday’s game.
“Together we can beat anyone and win any trophy. If we keep going like this, we will win the Champions League.”