Ramos can play until he's 40, says ex-Real Madrid team-mate Van der Vaart

By Sports Desk August 03, 2020

Sergio Ramos is the best defender in the world and can keep on playing until he is 40, according to former Real Madrid team-mate Rafael van der Vaart. 

Ramos was very influential in helping Madrid end Barcelona's run of success in LaLiga, scoring 11 goals as Zinedine Zidane's squad were crowned champions for the first time since 2017. 

The Spaniard was signed from Sevilla as a teenager in 2005 and was still young when he was joined at the club by Van der Vaart, who stayed at the Santiago Bernabeu for two seasons before joining Tottenham in 2010. 

However, having watched on as his old club secured the title once again, the Dutchman is impressed by how Ramos has matured and, considering his physical condition, sees no reason why the 34-year-old should be thinking of retiring anytime soon. 

"For me, he is the best defender in the world," Van der Vaart told Stats Perform News as part of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour. 

"When I was at Real Madrid, he was 21 or 22 and bursting with energy. He wanted to be everywhere. Free kicks, corner kicks, everywhere. 

"Now it is different, he has so much focus now. A focus on winning and he uses all his talents for that purpose. He's aware of his skills, strength and conditioning and that helped him being so important for his team in winning already so many titles. His body is unbelievable, he is a machine. 

"When I was watching a game the other day, I thought, 'how old is he? 34?' I believe he can still be playing for another six years, I've so much respect for him."

With LaLiga won, Madrid will now focus on potential European success as they return to Champions League action. 

They need to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit in their last-16 tie with Manchester City if they are to progress, with the remaining knockout rounds to be staged in Portugal, though Ramos will miss the match against Pep Guardiola's team at the Etihad Stadium due to suspension. 

However, Madrid have been outstanding since the season restarted in Spain midway through June, and Van der Vaart expects a "really interesting" return clash with City, who finished second in the Premier League. 

"Real Madrid have been very, very good after the coronavirus break," he said. "They have all been very focused [on the games]. Including a 10-game winning streak. 

"Karim Benzema and Ramos have been a key part of the team for me, and Zidane for bringing calmness to the team. 

"However, I watched Manchester City against Arsenal playing the semi-final of the FA Cup, as well as other games. They have so much individual talent, so they are always dangerous, for any team, including the magnificent Real Madrid. That's what we've seen in the first leg, so it is going to be a really interesting game." 

Van der Vaart was speaking as part of a Europa League Trophy Tour that has been collecting football boots from fans for Syrian refugees based in Jordan, a cause the former Netherlands international is passionate about. 

"It's great, I remember how incredibly happy I was as a little boy with my football boots. I even put my first pair on to bed and I dreamed of playing football. I hope that all children in the world may experience that kind of childlike joy. I'm so proud that I can help a little bit," Van der Vaart said. 

"We are collecting boots, which hopefully gives a bit more hope and fun for all children. So, I'm proud that I can help a little bit and be a part of it. 

"It's really important [to be able to go out and play]. Now there are so many things, but when I was little you would just go on the street and play. 

"In lockdown it was difficult, of course. You want to meet with friends, you want to go out and play games, but when I started playing it was just me and the ball."

Related items

  • Barcelona still have a squad capable of challenging – Zidane Barcelona still have a squad capable of challenging – Zidane

    Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane believes Barcelona have a squad that is capable of "fighting for everything".

    After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, Ronald Koeman is rebuilding the Blaugrana, who have seen the likes of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Nelson Semedo leave.

    Philippe Coutinho has returned from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Miralem Pjanic joined from Juventus, while Lionel Messi ended up staying after requesting a move.

    Zidane, whose Madrid visit Real Betis on Saturday, said Barca were strong enough to again be challenging for titles.

    "I will be respectful. Besides, I don't know what's going on inside, that's why I don't want to get involved," the Madrid coach told a news conference.

    "I think each club has their own issues and difficulties. I think Barcelona, in terms of the team and the squad, is a club who will be fighting for everything.

    "I don't have any doubt."

    Madrid have also seen some changes to their squad, most notably the departures of Gareth Bale (on loan to Tottenham) and James Rodriguez (Everton).

    Bale's relationship with Zidane reportedly deteriorated in recent months, although the Welshman told Sky Sports on Friday he had "no regrets".

    Asked if he had anything to say about Bale, Zidane said: "I'm not going to speak about what Gareth said.

    "Against, what I will say is that we wish him the best for the future and we are focused on ourselves now. That's all."

  • Conte praises Perisic attitude amid Man Utd, PSG links Conte praises Perisic attitude amid Man Utd, PSG links

    Ivan Perisic has returned to Inter with desire and enthusiasm, coach Antonio Conte said amid transfer talk about the attacker.

    Perisic is back with the Serie A giants after spending 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich, where he won the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.

    The Croatia international, who arrived at Inter from Wolfsburg in 2015, has again been linked with a move amid reported interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

    But, ahead of Inter's Serie A opener against Fiorentina on Saturday, Conte said Perisic had returned with a renewed determination.

    "I am happy for Ivan, because in the end he had an incredible experience with Bayern Munich, a winning one, in which he won three trophies," he told a news conference.

    "Now he's back, with great determination to play for Inter and help us out, to put himself at the service of the team, and I am happy that he's got this desire.

    "Also, because when you've got this kind of determination, this enthusiasm, this desire, in the end everything gets easier for the coach."

    Inter finished second in Serie A last season, but have added the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov to their squad.

    The arrival of Vidal from Barcelona was confirmed this week as the midfielder reunites with Conte after the pair worked together at Juventus.

    "Arturo Vidal is in good shape, he arrived in good physical condition," Conte said.

    "Tactically, he is a player that has already played with me, but at the same time we're doing new stuff now compared to the past, when he was one of my players.

    "Therefore, he is integrating well, he's a smart player, tactically, physically, he's got a great mindset.

    "In our midfield, he can do everything. He can be one of the two central midfielders, he can play as an offensive one, he can play together with a low playmaker should we decide to do that. He can play in any role and we are happy to have him with us."

  • Messi knows me well – Suarez proud after Barcelona star's backing Messi knows me well – Suarez proud after Barcelona star's backing

    Luis Suarez said he was proud after being defended by Lionel Messi following his move to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona.

    Suarez, 33, joined Atletico in a €6million move this week after six trophy-laden seasons at Camp Nou.

    His close friend and Barcelona star Messi slammed the Catalan giants on Friday, saying Suarez was "kicked out" and "nothing surprises" him anymore.

    Suarez, who won 13 trophies at Barca, said he was proud to have left such a positive impression.

    "Leo knows me well and is well aware of my level of conviction. It's a source of pride to be able to leave a positive legacy behind me," he told reporters.

    "I've now moved on and joining this competitive side is a major motivation."

    Suarez scored 21 goals in 36 games last season, but new Barca coach Ronald Koeman had no room for the Uruguayan as he rebuilds the Blaugrana.

    The forward said joining another big club in Spain was a huge motivation for him.

    "The motivation of coming to a great from Spain, Atleti is," Suarez said. 

    "It has great players, a competitive block that always fights to be at the top and for the league. 

    "The fans and the coach [Diego Simeone] motivate a lot too."

    Atletico begin their 2020-21 season at home to Granada on Sunday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.