Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is unrepentant about the clashes that left Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Loris Karius injured in last month’s 3-1 Champions League final, saying the accusations against him have “been blown out of all proportion.”
The final turned in Madrid’s favour after Reds top scorer Salah had to leave the field with a dislocated shoulder after appearing to be pulled to the ground by Ramos, with a sizable portion of fans believing the Madrid centre-back was acting intentionally.
And this week it emerged that Karius had suffered a concussion during the game, with the 24-year-old having been floored in a collision with Ramos while defending a corner. The goalkeeper proceeded to make two crucial mistakes for Madrid’s first and third goals.
Asked about his role in both incidents while on duty with the Spain squad ahead of the summer’s World Cup, the Andalusian said his part had been magnified, with neither as important as was being made out.
“Bloody hell, it’s all been blown out of all proportion,” Ramos said, according to AS. “I didn’t want to talk but everything gets magnified.
“[Salah] pulls my arm first, and I fall on the other side. Then when his other arm is injured, they say that I’ve done a judo move on him. Then the goalkeeper says he is concussed after a clash with me.
“Now it only needs Firmino to say he got the flu as a drop of my sweat fell on him.”
In September 2015, Ramos dislocated his shoulder during a Champions League group game against Shakhtar Donetsk, playing occasionally as the joint healed over the next few months.
But Ramos said the injury which has left Salah racing for fitness in time for Egypt’s first World Cup group game was not so serious, while suggesting that his own winning record over the years at Madrid had made him a target for criticism by outsiders.
“I’ve exchanged messages with Salah and he was pretty good,” he said. “If he had an injection he could have played the second half, I’ve done it sometimes. It was not such a big thing, but it seems if Ramos does it, it stands out a bit more.
“I don’t know if it is because you are at Madrid and you’ve won for so many years, people look on it in another way.”
Reigning African Footballer of the Year Salah has been named in Egypt’s 23-man squad for the summer’s tournament in Russia but is expected to miss his country’s first two games in Group A, then perhaps return for the third game against Saudi Arabia on June 25.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan