Zinedine Zidane hailed Sergio Ramos as an example to everyone at Real Madrid after the captain made an unexpected bid to feature against Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday.
Ramos dispatched the winning penalty as Madrid claimed the Supercopa de Espana at the expense of rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend.
But the 33-year-old defender suffered a sprained ankle during the game and was expected to spend a spell on the sidelines until he emerged for training at Valdebebas on Friday.
“We know the character that Sergio has,” Zidane told a pre-match news conference. “He always wants to play. He’s done everything possible this week to be available and to be ready.
“He is a great example to the rest of the team. He’s our reference for everyone at this club and an example everyone should follow.”
Ramos’ centre-back partner Raphael Varane is in line to make a landmark 300th appearance in Madrid colours this weekend.
Zidane first took charge of his countryman, who joined the 13-time European champion from Lens in 2011, when he featured in the club’s youth categories.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) January 17, 2020
“I knew the potential he had when he came, I knew he could play a lot of games for us,” he said,
“But, in eight years, 300 games is not something that everyone can get to.
“I hope he can play another 300 – at least another 100!”
Behind Ramos and Varane, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is enjoying a strong run of form, with his performance in the Supercopa final standing in stark contrast to some of the struggles he experienced after joining from Chelsea before the start of last season.
“I think he’s proven since the day he came that he’s a great goalkeeper. He’s always been a part of the group of the best goalkeepers in the world,” Zidane added.
“He’s had some difficult moments, of course. He’s known how to overcome these difficult moments and he knows the level that he’s got.
“With a lot of hard work he’s been able to bring himself up to this level and we’re very happy for him.”
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