Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos is the Greatest Center Back of All Time

Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is the greatest center back in history. Here’s why.

Perhaps the most challenging position to practice and master in football is the center-back
position. Usually the most dangerous attacking opportunities on the pitch are created or finished
in the central area of the field and without sharp and athletic central defenders, teams will fall apart quickly.

Analysts and fans alike often make the presumption that the attacking positions are the
most essential and important to a club’s success. However, football has always shown us that
having just a dominant offence or defense will not suffice in a quest to win titles.
The greatest teams are those that have established a healthy and strong balance of both offensive and defensive strengths.

Center-backs have often been the backbone of some of the greatest
squads in history, willingly working twice as hard as attackers, to allow them to take risks and
create scoring opportunities against opponents.

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They hold the keys to both team success and failure every time they chase an attacker down the
field and like it or not, when the greatest center-backs in history are mentioned, Ramos’ name
will be right at the top, where it belongs.

Sergio Ramos is the classic case of a player who is loved and adored by his club’s fan base, yet
despised and hated by almost all opposing fans.

Defenders like Phillipe Lahm and Paolo Maldini
are highly ranked for not only their unique abilities, but also their pleasant attitude and sparkling clean reputation.

Ramos has neither a pleasant attitude nor a sparkling clean reputation, but what he does have is a
resume and career filled with trophies, records, and accolades that prove his superiority amongst
the greatest of central defenders.

He joined Real Madrid in 2005 and made his international debut for Spain within the same
year. Since then, Ramos has accumulated 21 major trophies for Los Blancos, captaining the club
through one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, when Madrid dominated world football
between 2016-2018, winning a historical 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League titles, 3 Club
World Cups, as well as a La Liga title in 2017.

The Madridista was also part of the golden age of Spanish football between 2008-2014 when the
Spaniards ran the table, winning two European Cups, as well as a FIFA World Cup in between,
solidifying themselves as one of the greatest international squads in history. In 2016, Ramos was
given the Spanish captaincy, leading some of the greatest players in Spanish football history
behind him. Ramos has netted over 100 goals throughout his career with 69 of them scored in La
Liga, establishing himself as the highest-scoring defender in La Liga history.

Ramos has single-handedly redefined the central defender position by normalizing his
involvement in attacking scenarios. The Spanish international birthed a new version of defending
by increasing his offensive presence. Sergio is not the first center-back to score a ton of goals,
but the way he has revolutionized his position and lead both his club and international teams to
peak historical success cannot be ignored or undervalued.

When compared to other all-time great central defenders, many point to the resume and
leadership of Bobby Moore or the skillful dominance of Fabio Cannavaro to counter Ramos’
claim as the greatest center-back of all time. Doubters have often used Ramos’ historically great
offensive abilities to downplay his defensive abilities, citing players such as Franz Beckenbauer
and Alessandro Nesta as more “traditional” center-backs with better defensive abilities.

To be completely honest, Ramos is NOT a traditional central defender and that is particularly
why he is the very best of all time. The Spaniard has been so exceptional on the offensive end
that his incredible man-marking, top-notch vision, and world-class positioning has been grossly
underrated. On top of scoring 10 league goals, critics seem to forget that Ramos has captained the best defense in Europe this season as well.

Players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Fabio Cannavaro, and Alessandro Nesta were probably better natural defenders than Ramos, however, it’s Sergio Ramos’ overall (offensive, defensive, athletic) game, as well as the historical teams, trophies and moments he’s experienced that allows him to separate himself from the pack. The consistent play of a central defender can secure their team a place in a final, but to be victorious, a goal must be scored.

THAT is the difference. When it comes to the big moment, rarely does Ramos rely solely on an
attacking-minded player to finish the job, rather he thinks “Why not me?”. Who could forget his
infamous goal against city rivals Atletico Madrid in the UCL Final during the 92 nd minute, when
Ramos elevated over superstars and legends to knock in the equalizer.

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Sergio Ramos may not be the most naturally gifted defender in history, but his all-around style,
athletic abilities, offensive prowess and championship mentality make him unequivocally the
most valuable central defender in the history of football. The fact that his list of accolades and
records are almost unmatched, further supports his superiority amongst the greatest of center-