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Sergio Ramos: Hard-man's heart melts as he says adios to Real Madrid

·2-min read

Not even the notorious Real Madrid chopper could hold back the tears. They flooded out of Sergio Ramos as soon as he mentioned the parents for the love and support that propelled him to the apex of the sport and its attendant glory.

La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League, Club World Cup, World Cup, European championships, Ramos enjoyed their harvest during his 16 years at one of the world's most prestigious clubs.

“I’d also like to thank Real Madrid for allowing me this moment as well as my coaches and teammates without whom none of these years would have been possible."

Collecting himself for a lachrymal flourish, he added: "And of course, I’d like to thank the fans who’ve always been there in the good times and the bad ones. I would have liked to have said goodbye in the stadium … but it is the way it is.

“Thank you Real Madrid ... you’ll always be in my heart.”

Ramos, 35, played 671 times and scored 101 goals for Madrid after joining from Sevilla. There were 22 trophies in all including five La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.

Hommage

Madrid forward Karim Benzema, who played with Ramos for 12 years, hailed him a legend.

Benzema's fellow France international Rapahel Varane said he had learned playing alongside Ramos for a decade.

Madrid announced the veteran defender's departure on Wednesday night. A statement added that the club president Florentino Perez would host a farewell press conference..

Honours

During his time at Madrid, Ramos also featured for the Spain national team with whom he won the 2010 World cup and European championships in 2008 and 2012.

As well as a bulging trophy cabinet, Ramos holds an array of records for indiscipline for Real Madrid and Spain.

He amassed 171 yellow cards and 20 red cards, making him the player who has been sent off the most times in La Liga.

He is unrivalled in the Champions League too with 40 yellow cards and four red cards - three of which were instant dismissals.

Spain coach Luis Enrique excluded Ramos from the squad for this summer's European championships after an injury-hit season.

The omission ended a streak of 10 consecutive major international tournaments for the player.

Although Ramos has said he is not retiring from football, his next destination is unclear. Paris Saint-Germain, English champions Manchester City as well as Manchester United have been cited as possible venues for the defender.

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