Any performer at the very highest level will admit that when the time comes to call it a day, their only hope is that they get to bow out on their own terms. Nobody wants to be forced into retirement or have a once-glittering reputation tarnished by decisions that are out of their control.
It would, however, appear as though the curtain has been brought down on the international career of Sergio Ramos. He has not pulled the strings, with Luis Enrique seemingly deciding that the veteran defender is no longer deserving of a spot on center stage.
Sergio Ramos is not in Spain’s World Cup squad ? pic.twitter.com/75M5dQ91NF
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 11, 2022
The Real Madrid legend, who has been at Paris Saint-Germain since the summer of 2021, had been hoping for one more shot at global glory in 2022. Those looking to bet on World Cup outright markets will have taken note of Spain at +700. The latest World Cup tips suggest that La Roja will go well in Qatar and should be expected to be there or thereabouts when the grandest of prizes are handed out.
Ramos knows what it takes to get across that line having formed part of a historic success for his country back in 2010. He has been almost always present since then, with it taken for granted that his name would figure in any squad announcement.
He has, however, seen fitness issues hold him back of late, with the 2021-22 season proving to be particularly frustrating for a man who prides himself on never backing down from a challenge and giving his absolute all to any given cause.
Positive progress has been made in the current campaign, leading to calls for him to be welcomed back from the international wilderness, but those pleas have fallen on deaf ears – at least in the Enrique household.
Spain’s head coach is reluctant to be drawn on why certain performers that have figured so prominently in the past are no longer getting a look in. He said when revealing his selection for Qatar 2022: “I’m not going to go into the players that aren’t on the list. I thank everyone who has helped us get here, but now the important ones are the 26 called up.”
Enrique is right to keep focus locked on those who can influence proceedings when another bid for major honors is taken in, but he must also acknowledge that Ramos deserves an explanation as to why he did not make the cut.
?National team hero
Not just one, but 2?!
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 7, 2018
Even if questions were being asked about his ability to take to the field every few days, surely his experience and leadership could still have been put to good use in a much bigger picture. He is the kind of character you’d better have by your side than watching on from afar.
Ramos, with a record-setting haul of 180 caps to his name, will be left tuning in on television though and it is yet to be determined whether Enrique will be left to rue that decision or find himself in a position to bat away questions regarding some big calls.