sport breaking news
The sight of Sergio Ramos donning the famous red shirt of Spain is something fans have become accustomed to seeing since 2004.
A mainstay in the defence of both La Roja and Real Madrid for the best part of 15 years, the absence of the Spaniard at Euro 2020 may come as a surprise to many.
With 180 caps for his country and medals from both a World Cup and two European Championship successes, he is one of the most decorated international footballers in history.
Yet he was not included by Luis Enrique in his Spain squad for the tournament this summer because of a lack of form and fitness due to a series of niggling injuries.
It was a disappointing campaign for Real as they finished the season without a trophy and with Ramos sidelined for much of the season – a factor which ultimately forced Enrique’s hand.
The Spain boss explained: “Ramos has not been able to compete this season, he has not been able to train with the group.”
He added: “I clearly see that it’s a complicated decision. I recommended that he be selfish and that he regains his level to play in his club and in the national team.”
Ramos played just two games in 2021 after undergoing a successful knee operation in January and was left on the bench for the final game of the season against Villarreal.
And on Wednesday evening it was confirmed that Ramos would be leaving the club when his contract expires on June 30 after 16 years of service.
Spain get their Euro 2020 campaign underway against Sweden in Sevilla on Monday evening, with Ramos pledging his support to the squad before they get their campaign underway.
He wrote on his Instagram: “After a tough few months and a strange season unlike anything I have experienced in my career comes the Euros.
“I have fought and worked every day, in body and soul, to be able to reach 100% for Real Madrid and the national team but things don’t always work out the way we’d like.
“It pains me not to have been able to help my team more and not to play for Spain but, in this case, the best thing to do is rest, fully recover and come back next year like we’ve always done. It hurts not to represent your country, but I have to be honest and sincere.
“I wish all my teammates the very best of luck and I hope we have a great Euros. I’ll be another fan cheering on from home.”