Athletes live in a strange world. On one hand they’re just doing their job. Their job just happens to be showing up to practice a sport most days and then showing up to perform that sport in front of thousands on game day. On the other hand they do live a public life where thousands of people are obsessed with their every move and hold them to higher standards.
Nowhere is that more true then at Real Madrid where fans think you owe them the world.
I don’t know where I stand on the whole athletes owe us answers thing. They are just doing their job. When things happen internally (an argument with teammates etc) they deserve to be kept internally. I understand the other side that these people are living public lives, and fans are technically paying their salaries but come on. The line has to be drawn somewhere.
This isn’t an apples to apples comparison but Jeff Bezos is a pretty public figure. He’s accumulated a massive amount of wealth on the backs of consumers money. Yet we don’t demand to know everything he says internally when he goes to work every day.
According to Real Madrid standards, Real are having a horrific season. They’re third in La Liga, have been eliminated from the Copa Del Ray and the Champions League. No trophies will be at the Bernabau this year which is unacceptable in the capital.
(Sidenote: Despite playing against a Barcelona team that for a decade has been the best team in the world, with the best players in the world, Real Madrid have never adjusted their expectations accordingly. They’ve won four Champions League’s which is impressive as hell, but it’s also led to them firing manager after manager which is… not good!)
As captain, Sergio Ramos has stepped up and taken some of the blame. Now, let’s get the accolades on Ramos out of the way.
Is Sergio Ramos an asshole? Pretty much. Is he a dirty player? No. He plays with an edge, which is part of what makes him great. I respect it. He gets away with a lot but plenty of players do. If you can get away with something why wouldn’t you do it? I hate him when he’s on the field but if he played for my team I’d be the first one to have his back. So would fans of nearly every team in the world.
Liverpool fans will bring up his takedown of Mo Salah in the Champions League Final last year, a tackle that ruined the final for Liverpool fans and neutrals, as evidence that he’s a dirty player. Ramos knew what he was doing on that tackle, but I don’t think his intent was to injure the guy. It’s just what ended up happening, which is bad luck.
On Monday morning Ramos took to twitter to address many of the questions going on around Real Madrid, and himself, that fans have. He opened up about a lot, but also about nothing at all. I thought it was a brilliant move. Come out and speak and people stop pestering you, even though he didn’t say much. Nevertheless I respect him for doing it.
Let’s look at some of the highlights.
Start with a softball. Take the blame for the yellow. It was a dumb play but that’s a good start.
Apparently Ramos recorded some documentary during a game and fans weren’t happy about this. This shouldn’t be an issue. Players sign contracts and have commitments, some of them involve camera crews following them around for days at a time, or giving behind the scenes looks during matchdays. Those days are picked weeks if not months in advance. Had they won fans would love the inside look. But they didn’t win so the optics obviously look bad. That’s not Ramos’s fault. Sunderland Till I Die was supposed to be a story about Sunderland marching back to the Premier League, instead it’s about them getting relegated for the second time in two years. You can’t control these things.
Yea I’m calling bullshit on this one.
Ramos and Marcelo recently got into a spat on the training ground. Guess what, it happens. These guys are intense and they’re with each other every day. Teammates get into squabbles all the time, nothing to see here.
There are some others in there as well, but again, he doesn’t say much. Nevertheless kudos to him for doing it. Again, I don’t know if he owes it to the fans to give them answers to some of the questions, but by doing this he’s able to address without actually saying anything.
It’s PR 101. Make yourself look good without actually diving too much into everything. More players should be doing it.