By Joe Wright
The Spain defender says he is “itching” to lift Europe’s greatest club prize, but has warned that Galatasaray must not be underestimated in the quarter-finals
Sergio Ramos has described winning the Champions League as “one of the greatest dreams” of his already-successful career.
The Real Madrid defender has three Liga titles and a Copa del Rey winner’s medal to his name, not to mention two European Championship crowns and a World Cup with Spain, for whom he made his 100th senior appearance against Finland.
Despite a career of incredible successes to date, Ramos insists there is one notable absentee from his trophy cabinet.
“It is one of my greatest dreams that I can have at this stage of my career,” he told Uefa.comabout winning the Champions League.
“The first titles you win always remain as milestones in your life, and hopefully tomorrow we can say that I have won not just one Champions League title.
“Unfortunately it is one of the few things that I have yet to win, and I must admit that it is an itch I want to scratch to be able to hold and raise a trophy as important as the Champions League trophy.”
Real Madrid face Galatasaray in the quarter-finals next month, and although Jose Mourinho’s men are clear favourites on paper, Ramos insists they must not underestimate their opponents.
“One should never estimate any team. They have all had to earn the right to get where they are,” he continued.
“That we have drawn Galatasaray is not a stroke of luck by any means; on the contrary, they are a pretty strong team and the fact is that they are stronger now with the signings of [Didier] Drogba and [Wesley] Sneijder. These are world-class players and are key elements in the team.
“But the real danger is always the group, the collective, never the individual player. One player does not stand out from all the rest if the collective effort is good.
“So we have to respect Galatasaray, try to keep a clean sheet at home and score away goals because I am sure that things will be difficult over there on their home turf.”
After an inauspicious start to the campaign, Madrid have turned around their fortunes in recent weeks, defeating Manchester United in the Champions League and Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
Ramos believes the squad has pulled together after their early-season form, praising the will to win they have demonstrated in recent weeks.
“I think after a poor start to the season we have closed ranks as a group more than ever and we have drawn on our stronger will to win, our optimism and our ambition to keep improving and do things as well as we can,” he added.
“The results speak for themselves. Of course we are not going to fire off any skyrockets yet because nothing is guaranteed and in the bag.
“Mind you, it is true that our hard work has begun to pay off with a reward such as reaching the final of the Copa del Rey.”