Sergio Ramos endured a difficult start to life in France but the decorated Spanish defender has this season rekindled some of the magic that earned him 22 trophies in 16 campaigns at Real Madrid.
Now a regular at the heart of the Paris Saint-Germain back line, the 36-year-old has his sights set firmly on a fifth UEFA Champions League winners’ medal.
Paris vs Bayern: Latest updates
On moving to France
Leaving Real Madrid was obviously a very big change. My goal is always to continue winning. I won a lot with Real Madrid, but I thought this was a good opportunity for a change of scenery … to try to help a team like PSG. Everything was very difficult at first. You have to find a home and settle down, especially when you come with a family, with four kids. The process was a bit tough at first, but everything has worked out.
On initial struggles
At first, having taken that leap, everything went wrong. I got injured, had a hard time recovering and adapting to the new system, to the new team and new coach. You begin to doubt whether or not you’ve done the right thing. But my career has been defined by consistency, perseverance and hard work. You keep fighting and it will give things more meaning in the future.
On the current Paris squad
There are a lot of stars, some of the best players in the world. Winning is coming together, though, and all looking at the same objective. If a team ends up winning it’s because they left their personal egos behind. The aim this season is to all come together, to bring the best versions of ourselves and stay balanced as a team. That is more important than any star we might have.
On meeting Bayern
When I think about Bayern, I think about the day I scored against them [in 2014]. Of course, we know they’re one of the best teams we could come up against, a huge challenge. But getting past them would be a very positive message to send out to the world. To win the Champions League, you have to win against the best and Bayern are among those year every year.
On coach Cristophe Galtier
What stands out is how natural and humble he was when he came to the team. He’s a coach who never lies, who says it to your face and that, for me, is very important. He’s also a good coach: he has won with teams before PSG, and has gained experience that he’s transferring to the squad.
On the Champions League mission
Marriages are always based on a dream, and in a perfect partnership everything will go great. But football doesn’t always work out. The best teams don’t always win. But what I can say is that I’m where I want to be and at a club with so much hunger to win the Champions League. And I want to make the most of what remains of my playing career.
On fleeting success
You can’t live in the past; you’ve got to show your best every day, you’ve got to keep on winning every season. In the future I’ll enjoy it a lot more with my kids, with my parents, with my grandkids, telling them everything I did. You win it, you grab it, lift it, people take photos, you do interviews, you get two weeks off and then pre-season starts up. Time to move on.
Sergio Ramos in the Champions League
Titles: 4 🏆🏆🏆🏆
On what happens next
I invest a lot of time in football, and I’ve not had time for family. So when I retire I’ll spend two years dedicated to my children’s upbringing, experiencing everyday things which you can’t do alongside football, like skiing, taking the kids on holiday with no pressure, taking them to tennis classes – a normal life.
I’ll have to be more on top of my businesses, but ultimately what gives me adrenaline and fires me up is football. I’ve done it my whole life and it’s what I do best. I can see myself being a [club] president, a sporting director or coach.