What always caught my attention about Sergio when we started getting to know each other some years ago was that he’s a person with values, with a clear personality, faithful to his ideas and who defends those ideas in front of everybody. At 18 you could see that he knew what he wanted. It isn’t a question of rebellion; it’s a question of principles. It annoys him when people have the wrong impression about him and, in some ways, this is something that had happened and happens to me too.
Sergio always says things to your face. He defends his ideas. He says what he thinks and he doesn’t give up easily. He has had some problems with coaches in the past, but not because he isn’t clear regarding the staff order or who is in charge. He knows this clearly and is the first one to respect it. If he has some tension it is because he defends what he believes in.
His tension with Luis Aragones is an example. In the first Euro Cup he challenged some of Luis’ views and he did it face to face in front of all his teammates. Luis helped him a lot and Sergio knows it. But the day that he thought that the coach crossed the line, he told him. Maybe because of that we always understand each other well. I think we’re similar. We like the same things and the same things bother us.
We have both been at the center of media attention since we were very young. And we know what you have to go through. Since I went to England we probably see each other and talk less than before but you don’t need to talk everyday to maintain a friendship, and we have it. It shows on both our parts. He knows he can count on me for anything he needs, and I know he’ll always be there to help me if I need it.
I think he’s called to be a leader of our group of La Seleccion and also in his club if he isn’t already. I think that he is. In football terms he has everything -physical and technical. The secret of his success is in his head. Others players can have these physical qualities and don’t achieve what he has achieved. You have to be very strong to shoot the penalty in Panenka style as he did in the Euro Cup after failing it in the Champions. I wouldn’t have done it. Not even if I were crazy. I failed four or five such penalties in Atletico and if I had to take another one, I only thought about securing it. He, if he had failed it, would take it in the Panenka style anyway, and do it with the same confidence. And this confidence, this mentality, is what he must never lose. I envy him in that sense, the tremendous personality he has.
When I was in Atletico, one day we had an incident between us. He was expelled for an action against me. He put his hand in my face and saw his second card of the match. I fell and it wasn’t because I was acting. It was in the Bernabeu. He was adamant that I had made too big a deal of it; that I had dived. He had put his finger in my eye. What was I supposed to do?
One day before the Germany World Cup we had a big fight on a free day. He came up to me suddenly, grabbed my chest and pushed me against the wall. He thought I had played a joke on him, most likely a dirty trick. I swore and swore to him that I had not done anything. He took me to his room and showed me a “present” someone had left in his minibar. We went to my room and I had a “present” too. Finally it was clear that another person was responsible for the “presents”. That day neither one of us was responsible, but just in case, I prefer to always be his ally, on his side. It’s not a good idea to tease him. But he has no real meanness. He knows who it is ok to tease and who it is better to leave alone.
I always want Sergio on my team. He will never leave you hanging, and never let you down. So if Madrid doesn’t want him, he knows where he can come…
Fernando Torres [Sergio Ramos: Corazón, carácter y pasión]