Injury deprives Sergio Ramos of Champions League trip to Arsenal

By Sports Desk November 07, 2023

Sergio Ramos admits the appeal of Champions League football only added to the lure of an emotional return to Sevilla as he hopes the LaLiga side can win at Arsenal in his absence on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old won the competition four times during a trophy-laden spell at Real Madrid but is now back at his boyhood club following a stint with Paris St Germain.

The former Spain centre-back has been ruled out with a calf injury and has not travelled for Sevilla’s crucial Group B clash away to Arsenal.

Defeat for the reigning Europa League champions would leave their chances of progression into the Champions League knockout stages on a knife-edge with two games remaining.

Ramos will no doubt be desperate to feature in those fixtures and help keep Sevilla’s ambitions alive after making the “passionate” decision to return after an 18-year absence.

“I had received offers of going abroad, to Saudi Arabia, for instance – but this was a debt I had to my club, to Sevilla, the first team where I triumphed,” he said.

“This is also a personal debt towards my family, my parents, my grandparents – it’s very emotional, very passionate to me. This was a very personal decision, a decision made with the heart.

“The Champions League is something that everybody knows what it means, especially personally to me, when making a decision the Champions League is an important competition.

“Sevilla were playing in the Champions League and that was a plus in making such a decision.

“Arsenal are a consolidated team with young players with a well-defined style of play. They know how they play and we know it will be a very, very difficult game.

“Winning? Well, we know that Arsenal are an amazing team. But of course, the team will go there with the intention of taking the win, the three points home.

“We know how difficult it can be but we will try to play a serious game, very concentrated to try to make sure that they don’t have a lot of opportunities and we take advantage of the ones we have.”

Asked about his fitness ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 LaLiga draw against Celta Vigo, a match the World Cup winner was not involved in, Ramos replied: “Let’s take it one day at a time. It is true it’s not a big injury, it is a minor injury.”

Arsenal sit top of the group after a 2-1 win in Spain a fortnight ago but Mikel Arteta’s side have lost two of their three domestic games since.

Speaking at the Emirates Stadium on the eve of the clash, Sevilla head coach Diego Alonso praised Arsenal as one of the elite clubs in Europe.

“The game at a strategic and football level is complex,” he said.

“We are facing the fourth or fifth best team in Europe, they showed it last season, same in this one. It puts us in difficulties, but it also put us in difficulties two weeks ago. We competed well, with an unfair result for me because we did more for the game.”

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