“Odegard knows me very well at Madrid, he knows i don’t joke with Champions League, Saka and Martinelli are too easy for me to handle”Sergio Ramos, a street fighter, has a violent press conference ahead of Sevilla’s Champions League match against Arsenal today.
Arsenal will face Sevilla and street combatant Sergio Ramos in the Champions League.
Veteran defender to start for La Liga side in back-to-back games against Arsenal.
It takes a courageous manager to allow television cameras into his dressing room. Mikel Arteta of Arsenal was forced to do so for an All Or Nothing documentary series, which subsequently relayed some of his unconventional motivational approaches to a skeptical audience.
Arteta, on the other hand, had been warned. Diego Alonso of Sevilla was ambushed on his debut as a manager in Europe over the weekend, with the lenses and microphones of La Liga’s broadcasters following his team meetings during and after the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid.
Alonso, who took over as Sevilla’s fourth coach in less than two years, emerged from the close-ups and eavesdropping with praise. His instructions before a competition he described as a “street fight” were exciting, and his praise for his “brave” teammates was lavish.
Alonso also earned a huge endorsement on video, an embrace from Sergio Ramos, Sevilla’s most worldly warrior.
Ramos will make his 140th Champions League appearance against Arteta’s Arsenal on Tuesday. Alonso, who has just returned from South America, will be on the bench for the first time in his career in a Uefa competition.
There is an experience disparity between player and coach that the new Sevilla manager must manage carefully, preserving his own authority while benefiting from Ramos and other veterans in his group.
Ramos’ return to Sevilla, where he began his senior professional career more than two decades ago, was not universally welcomed by supporters. During his 16-year stint at Real Madrid, Ramos made a few offensive gestures against Sevilla fans, but there is no disputing his effect.
A signature Ramos header could have earned all three points from the weekend except for a fine late save from Madrid goalkeeper Kepa. Earlier, Ramos had cleared a Madrid shot from barely in front of the Sevilla goal.
His return reunites him with a club that established itself as one of football’s sharpest operators at scouting talent and selling it on for a large profit during the years Ramos was away, primarily at Real Madrid and, more recently, for a two-season sojourn in Paris.
However, a look at the current Sevilla, Europa League holders but in the bottom part of the Spanish standings, reveals that the dependable practice of uncovering brilliant players as they near their peaks has struck some snags.
The city of Sevilla Alonso took over from Jose Luis Mendilibar, who was fired following a bad start to the 2023/24 season and relied largely on old allies. Ramos, 37, will most likely line up in a defense with his contemporary Jesus Navas against Arsenal. Ivan Rakitic, 35, is in his second stint with Sevilla after previously playing for Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Arteta, at 41, is young enough to have played against Ramos and Navas, and he was present when Ramos scored his first La Liga goal, against Arteta’s former side Real Sociedad, 19 autumns ago.
More than a century of club goals have followed in Ramos’ long, decorated career as the streetfighter centre-back with the instincts of a target-man striker, the icon who refuses to retire.
Arteta will urge Arsenal, who drew 2-2 at Chelsea on Saturday, to keep an eye on Ramos in both penalty areas. He will encourage his younger forwards to put the Sevilla veterans to the test with their transition speed. Trying to contain Gabriel Martinelli, 22, will be one of Navas’s responsibilities at full-back.
Ramos might expect to reconnect with Gabriel Jesus. Their last meeting ended prematurely for the former Spain captain in a Champions League knockout contest at the Bernabeu between Madrid and Jesus’ former club Manchester City.
A foul on the Brazilian striker by the defender; a red card for Ramos, one of 28 in a senior career that has included World Cup and European championship victories, as well as four Champions League titles.
“We should be confident in the resources we have,” Alonso said, referring to the wealth of experience in the likes of Ramos, Rakitic, and Navas as he anticipated Arsenal’s arrival in Spain for the first of two back-to-back games with a lot on the line.
Arsenal lost to group leaders Lens earlier this month, and if they lose against Sevilla, who have drawn their first two games, Arteta’s men would fall out of the top two spots in the mini-league.
Can”It’s going to be a challenge against this opposition,” Alonso admitted. “But we can impose ourselves on the game.”