This feels… different.
Sergio Ramos will leave Real Madrid after 16 seasons following an “institutional act of tribute and farewell” from his club and president Florentino Perez on Thursday, the club announced Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Andalusian defender left boyhood club Sevilla while still a teenager in 2005 and embarked on a monumental trophy hunt with Real.
Injuries limited Ramos to under 1,800 minutes this season, but he played over 3000 minutes the prior season and has only, oh, about 500 La Liga matches under his belt.
Controversy follows a player with the propensity to pull the grimy out of his locker and trash talk out of his voice box, but Ramos is a serial winner who has been linked with everyone from Manchester United and Liverpool to Inter Miami.
Ramos won La Liga five times and also claimed four European Cups and two Copas del Rey, earning a place on a remarkable 11 FIFA World11s.
Oh, and there’s also the matter of an absurd three-trophy run with Spain as Ramos was a part of winning EURO 2008, th3 2010 World Cup, and EURO 2012.
Ramos is La Furia Roja’s all-time caps leader with 180 and his 23 goals — yes, he’s a center back — put him level with legendary striker Alfredo Di Stefano for eighth all-time (Di Stefano only had 31 caps, but still).
Spain played Sweden to a 0-0 draw in its EURO 2020 opener on Monday and meets Poland in Ramos’ home of Seville on Saturday.
Ramos has said he wants to play as many as “five more years at the highest level.” Sevilla sporting director Monchi has downplayed rumors that Ramos could return to Sevilla and play for former Spain manager Julen Lopetegui.