Sergio Ramos is a Marmite footballer.
For his passion, ability, leadership and exquisite timing of a goal, he is loved by millions.
But for his theatrics, temper and attitude, he is despised by nearly as many.
Real Madrid won their opening La Liga fixture against Deportivo 3-0 but it wasn’t all smiles for Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Captain Ramos was sent off for the 23rd time in his career when he received a second yellow for a perceived elbow.
However, the circumstances surrounding his first booking are rather unique and are typical of Ramos’ competitiveness and his morality.
It all started when Dani Carvajal went down with an injury and Deportivo refused to put the ball out to the right-back could get treatment.
Ramos was visibly annoyed by this and remonstrated with the Deportivo players.
Later in the game, when Zakaria Bakkali goes down for the hosts, Zidane orders Ramos to put the ball out so the physios can come on.
But Ramos believes that he is not obligated to because Deportivo did not do so for Carvajal — fair enough.
Madrid’s skipper plays a cross-field ball and Luka Modric gains possession.
Being the non-combative, non-confrontational player he is, the Croatian playmaker sportingly kicks the ball out for a throw-in so Bakkali can get treatment.
Ramos, who had made a run into the box, then loses his head and begins to yell at Modric.
As he jogs over to explain why he is annoyed with Modric, Deportivo players intercept Ramos and a typical shoving match ensues.
Ramos is booked for shoving Fabian Schar in the face and proceeds to dig out Modric for his innocent role in the incident.
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Then in stoppage time Ramos leads with his arm in an aerial duel and is shown a second yellow which will see him suspended for Real Madrid’s next La Liga game.
Most fans would say it was fair enough for Ramos to refuse Deportivo’s request to put the ball out after they had ignored Carvajal’s injury but his reaction to Modric, an experienced and valued member of the team, was not that of a captain.
If he felt strongly about the incident he could have easily had a word with Modric in private and he never would have received his first yellow.
The 31-year-old is unlikely to change his ways at this stage in his career and many Madrid fans wouldn’t want him to but this incident won’t win him many new fans.