As Real Madrid prepare to compete in the Club World Cup in Japan this week, with their semifinal coming up against Club America of Mexico on Thursday, club captain Sergio Ramos gave an interview to tournament organisers FIFA as the European Champions look to pick up their second title in the competition, the first having come two years ago in Morocco.
“I’ve got great memories of that tournament,” he told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview. “It was my first Club World Cup and, having won la Décima (Real Madrid’s tenth European Cup/UEFA Champions League title), it was a great challenge, both collectively and individually.
“I remember so many good things about that competition. I scored in the semis and the final and they gave me the Golden Ball. When you win the title, though, it’s just the icing on the cake.”
The 30-year-old central defender added that despite winning almost everything there is to win in a glittering career, his appetite for trophies has not diminished.
"All I want to do every year is do even better"
“I get up every day with the same desire to keep on improving, which is what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. I’m not looking for recognition. All I want to do every year is do even better, forget about what we’ve won and set new challenges for myself. I’ll keep on going as long as the body allows.
“It’s really important to get another piece of silverware in your trophy cabinet. It’s also great for a professional player to be able to wear the Champions Badge for a year. We’d like to get it back as we had to pass it on last year,” he said, referring to Barcelona’s victory in last year’s competition.
"Truly excellent football" under Ancelotti
As good as 2016 has been for Ramos, he believes 2014 was even better. “Every season is very intense but I think that one, with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, was very consistent. I think we played truly excellent football and we maintained our rhythm.”
On this season, with the bulk of that 2014 squad still at the club but with Zinedine Zidane now in charge, Ramos said: “We’re doing a good job. The structure and the core of the squad is the same, and that’s healthy for the team. We’ve got a better understanding with each other, and we’re on the same wavelength on the pitch too. The team’s reaping the benefits of that. We’ve got a good mix of veteran and young players.”