Real Madrid right-back Sergio Ramos has hit back at suggestions that yesterday’s Champions League elimination to Bayern Munich was a sign of a massive collapse on both an individual and team level.
Two Cristiano Ronaldo goals within the opening 14 minutes put Real in the driving seat with a 3-2 aggregate lead, only for Arjen Robben to level the scores by converting a penalty won by Mario Gomez before the end of the first half.
The Madristas could not breach the Bayern defense for the remainder of the match as well as the 30 additional minutes of extra time. Ronaldo, Kaka, and Ramos all missed their penalties in the consequent penalty shoot-out, allowing the German side to win 3-1 on spot-kicks.
While Real boss Jose Mourinho firmly refused to questions his side’s efforts over the two-legged battle, detractors have continued to criticize the manner in which the Spanish champions-elect regained control of the tie, only to give it away at their own ground.
When asked if Real Madrid ‘choked’ as a team and if he, in particular, became overwhelmed with the pressure of taking the spot-kick that he ended up smashing into the stands, Ramos confidently turned down both accusations.
“This hurts because we saw the final very near… It’s a real shame to be eliminated in a penalty shootout. It is something you never want. (But) we must hold our heads up,” Ramos told Real Madrid’s official website.
He added: “We tried everything but we knew we faced the likes of Robben, Ribery and Gomez. The match went through many different phases after our second goal. We can’t attack all the time. Penalty shootouts are unpredictable. Those who miss are those who shoot. I don’t think any player can be reproached anything.”
About his miss, the Spain international explained: “I wasn’t lucky to score my penalty, but I was confident and I would try it again tomorrow for the team. You feel great pressure, but I’ve always withstood it well.”
Lastly, Ramos also argued that the semifinal setback will not detract from Real’s overall success this season and suggested that excessive criticism of his side’s elimination to Bayern is also disrespectful to the resilience of the Bundesliga side.
“We would have liked to reach the final, but this will not tarnish the great season the team has had and that we want to seal with the league title. Bayern were a great side. I’m proud of the team and of the season we’re having,” he concluded.