Ser­gio Ramos’ spat with fans adds to Madrid-Sevilla ri­valry

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Real Madrid de­fender Ser­gio Ramos will be look­ing for­ward to see­ing the back of Sevilla and its fans af­ter their top-of-thetable Span­ish league match to­mor­row.

Most play­ers who re­turn in a dif­fer­ent jersey to a club they used to grace, and where they were cher­ished, are of­ten cel­e­brated and wel­comed, un­til kick­off. But al­most 12 years af­ter Ramos trans­ferred to Madrid, Sevilla fans re­tain a dim view of his de­par­ture.

The fate of draws and sched­ul­ing mean this matchup will be the third in less than two weeks be­tween the clubs, and it's safe to say Ramos and Sevilla fans are sick of each other.

Ramos is used to be­ing loudly booed by Sevilla fans at Ra­mon Sanchez-Pizjuan Sta­dium in his home­town, but some "dis­re­spect­ful" fans went fur­ther on Thurs­day when they al­legedly in­sulted him dur­ing a Copa del Rey game.

Ramos an­gered the fans fur­ther when he con­verted a penalty kick "Pa­nenka" style and cel­e­brated by pro­vok­ing part of the lo­cal Seville crowd. He apol­o­gized to the ma­jor­ity of the fans, but said the rad­i­cal sup­port­ers who in­sulted him didn't de­serve his re­spect.

"Sevilla will al­ways be home for me whether they jeer me or not," Ramos said. "But I'm the cap­tain of Madrid and I'll al­ways try to do my best to help my team."

Some of the dis­con­tent­ment with Ramos comes from the time he moved to Madrid in 2005. The player was at odds with the club pres­i­dent at the time, and fans were not happy with how the ne­go­ti­a­tions were con­ducted.

"It wasn't what it looked like, but I don't think it's worth talk­ing about it now," he said. "When they bury me, it will be with a flag of Sevilla and a flag of Madrid, that's not go­ing to change."

Madrid drew with Sevilla 3-3 on Thurs­day to ad­vance to the Copa quar­ter­fi­nals 6-3 on ag­gre­gate, and claim the Span­ish record for it­self of the long­est un­beaten streak, at 40 games.

Madrid will be de­fend­ing a four-point league lead on Sun­day when it re­turns to Ra­mon Sanchez-Pizjuan Sta­dium.

Third-place Barcelona will try to keep pace with the lead­ers when it faces Las Pal­mas on Satur­day at Camp Nou. Barca is one point be­hind Sevilla and five be­hind Madrid.

Lionel Messi has 12 goals in his last 11 matches, but he has never scored against Las Pal­mas, the only first-divi­sion club yet to con­cede a goal to the striker.

Also on Satur­day, fourth-place Atletico Madrid hosts Real Betis with sights set on a third suc­ces­sive win to cut into its nine-point deficit to Madrid.

SPAIN

La Liga

To­day Le­ganes-At. Bil­bao Barcelona-Las Pal­mas At. Madrid-Real Betis D. La Coruna-Vil­lar­real To­mor­row Va­len­cia-Es­panyol Celta Vigo-Alaves Sp. Gi­jon-Eibar Granada-Osasuna Sevilla-Real Madrid Mon­day Malaga-Real So­ciedad

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