Aging Sergio Ramos retires from international football
Paris Saint-Germain defender and Spain international Sergio Ramos announced his retirement from international football on Thursday. The center-back published a personal statement on his Instagram account in which he announced his decision, one that is not entirely personal.
Ramos won the World Cup back in 2010 and two European championships with Spain in 2008 and 2012. After the appointment of Luis de la Fuente by the Spanish Football Federation following Luis Enrique's departure last December, Ramos felt he wasn't in the plans of the new head coach and thus announced his retirement.
"The time has come. Time for me to say goodbye to the Spain national team. To La Roja. This morning, I received a call from the current head coach who informed me that I am not and will not be part of his plans, regardless of how I perform or what I do in my career," Ramos wrote.
"With a heavy heart, it's the end of a road that I hoped would stretch out further and which would end with a better taste in my mouth, on a par with all the success we achieved with La Roja. I honestly believe that this journey deserved to end at my own choosing or because my performances were not at a level worthy of our national team. Not due to a question of age or other reasons that, although I have not heard them directly, I have certainly felt."
Sergio Ramos felt betrayed by Luis de la Fuente, doesn't think age is a determining factor in levels of play
"Because age in itself is not a virtue or a defect; it's just a number that is not necessarily related to performance or ability. I admire and envy players like Modrić, Messi and Pepe. They are the essence of tradition, values, meritocracy and justice in football. Unfortunately, it won't be like that for me because football isn't always fair and football is never just football."
Ramos will turn 37 years old by the end of next month and he already missed the last international tournament with the Spain senior team after not getting called up for the 2022 World Cup. He retires with 180 caps, the most ever for a Spain international.
Without explicitly saying it, Ramos let people know that new coach Luis de la Fuente doesn't plan on calling him up ever again because of his age. Alas, the retirement announcement after lastly playing for Spain in 2021.
"This is something I have to accept, albeit with this sadness I share with you but also with my head held high, and thankful for all these years and for your support," the statement continued. "I come away with unforgettable memories, all the titles we've fought for and celebrated together and the tremendous pride I feel as the most capped Spanish international of all time. This badge, this shirt and these fans, all of you, have made me happy. I'll continue to support my country with the passion of someone lucky enough to proudly represent it 180 times. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who believed in me!"
Sergio Ramos is under contract at PSG until the end of the current season and it is still unclear if the Paris Saint-Germain organization will offer him an extension next summer considering his decreasing levels of play and the lack of physical prowess he's showing weekly on high-stakes, huge-demand games.