For his leadership and historic goals whenever Real Madrid need them most, Sergio Ramos is part of the very fabric of the club, so intertwined that he is the face of the entire institution.
While everyone continues to be at awe at what the Spaniard is capable of, former Real Madrid centre-back icons will know even better what makes Ramos so great.
“There is nobody in the world as good as Ramos in the air,” Fernando Hierro said. “He is an animal, out of the ordinary.
“It doesn’t matter if you defend him zonally or by man marking him, he has scored against Diego Godin, Gerard Pique, Tiago.
“Ramos can win any ball he wants due to passion, anticipation and confidence – I’ve never seen anyone head the ball like him.”
Another famous Real defender Ivan Helguera tried to suggest what would have to be done to stop Ramos, but even he admitted how difficult a task that is.
“He is a forward that also happens to defend,” Helguera said. “The only way to stop him is by not letting him get in his run-up, because once he does that he is unstoppable.”
Further back, Jose Emilio Santamaria who led Los Blancos in the 1950s, believes a lot of Ramos’ prowess stems from his fitness.
“A lot of his power comes from his physique,” Santamaria said. “Ramos is a lot more than a centre-back and he could play in midfield, something I’ve always mentioned to Alfredo Di Stefano.”
Finally, Rafael Alkorta also echoed Helguera’s comments in praising the Spaniard’s anticipation.
“Ramos always starts running before everyone else,” Alkorta concluded. “That is his biggest virtue- that he knows where the ball will be.”