Real Madrid: A troubling statistic heading into Manchester City second leg

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid must face Manchester City without Sergio Ramos, and their Champions League track record without the captain isn’t very good.

On Friday, Aug. 7, Real Madrid will travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City, and they must do so without captain Sergio Ramos in the lineup. Ramos will miss the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie after being suspended for a clumsy red card in the first leg, which Real lost 2-1.

So Real have a tall task ahead of them in the United Kingdom. They must hold City to a clean sheet, which, on its own, is incredibly difficult, given that City have the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling at forward. And then if their world-class defense can manage that, they must score at least two goals to overcome the deficit from the first leg.

Real Madrid must do this without their captain Ramos. Their No. 4 is doing whatever he can to help the team mentally prepare and continues to show great leadership, but it won’t be the same without him on the pitch.

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More worryingly, Real Madrid don’t have the best track record in the UEFA Champions League without their captain, as exemplified by their 3-0 blowout loss to a Neymar and Kylian Mbappe-less PSG at the Parc des Princes in September.

According to OptaJose on Twitter, Los Blancos have won just one of their last seven Champions League fixtures without Ramos in the lineup. In total, they have one win, one draw, and five losses. That’s five losses for a team that has won three of the last four Champions League titles!

Who did they beat in that one win out of seven you ask? FC Schalke 04, who are one of the weakest Champions League teams in most years. That 2-0 victory against the Royal Blues came all the way back in February of 2015.

So Real Madrid will be up against it without Ramos. The good news is that their backup, Eder Militao, is an excellent young center back who played well in last year’s Champions League campaign for FC Porto. He’s been great this season for Real, especially recently, putting in strong performances against clubs like Athletic Bilbao.

But playing against Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, Kevin de Bruyne, Mahrez, and Sterling is an entirely different proposition. Moreover, Ramos is the one who scores the game-winning goals and is the penalty taker, so someone, such as Karim Benzema or Raphael Varane, will have to step up. Varane did by creating two goals against Getafe, and Benzema has scored plenty of game-winning goals himself.

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Real Madrid can’t do this. It won’t be easy and history is against them, but their fighting spirit can carry them a long way.