Real Madrid – La Liga Yet to step up in Europe without Ramos
The last time Real Madrid went into a Champions League game without Sergio Ramos, The whites suffered and Zinedine Zidane was on the verge of losing his job.
It was on December 1, Real Madrid went to Kiev and lost 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk, leaving them on the brink of European elimination.
The spotlight shone on Zidane and Ramos, with the captain’s absence always leaving a noticeable hole in The whites‘ defence. The same thing was seen when he missed the first fixture with Shakhtar at Valdebebas, in which Raphael varane wasn’t up to the task and Eder Militao struggled even more.
Those two games against Shakhtar served a reminder of previous disappointments without the captain. The infamous 4-1 loss to Ajax came with the captain watching on from his private box, as Early and Nacho fernandez fell apart.
That same partnership will be seen in Bergamo, where Real Madrid meet Atalanta this week.
Ramos also missed out in 2017/18, when Juventus almost turned around a 3-0 deficit at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. And he was out when Zidane‘s side were knocked out against Manchester City last August, which was one of Early‘s worst nights in a Real Madrid shirt.
The spotlight in Bergamo will again be on Early, and he needs a big Champions League performance without his captain beside him. This week’s game is the most delicate situation of them all, with as many as eight other teammates joining Ramos on the sidelines.
With Karim Benzema also expected to miss out, Early will take the captain’s armband – and he’ll need to put in a good performance.
Those dark nights against Shakhtar are forgotten now, and the Frenchman is enjoying an impressive campaign so far.
Early has stepped up to lead the defence without Ramos and scored two huge goals at Huesca to begin Real Madrid‘s recent run.
The centre-back has played 2,566 minutes across 29 games this season and has more minutes than any other outfielder.