Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos has launched a passionate defence of the club amid mounting speculation over the future of coach Santiago Solari.
The Spanish aristocrats currently sit in third place in LaLiga, a distant 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona with just 11 games remaining, and are out of the Champions League following a stunning 4-1 home defeat by Ajax in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
Rumours of yet another managerial change – Jose Mourinho has been linked with a return to the Bernabeu Stadium – and dressing room unrest have been rife in recent weeks, and Ramos has moved to answer some of the big questions being asked.
Writing on his official Twitter account, he said: “As footballers, we like to do our talking on the pitch, but this season is not turning out that way.
“Recent events have been disastrous and I’m not hiding. We are not hiding. We the players are primarily responsible and I, as captain, more than anyone.”
Senior players Isco, Gareth Bale and Marcelo appear to have fallen out of favour with the coach, while Ramos himself was reportedly involved in an angry exchange with club president Florentino Perez following the Ajax defeat.
Commenting on that claim, the defender said:
“Dressing room issues are discussed and resolved in the dressing room. There’s no problem whatsoever and everybody has the same interest: @realmadrid.”
Ramos apologised for the ban he received after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 against Ajax. Ramos received an 89th minute yellow card in that tie, meaning he would miss the second leg.
He was subsequently given a two-match ban for “clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose”, according to UEFA, and was unable to play in their 4-1 second leg defeat which saw the holders crash out of the competition.
“Absolutely it was an error and I take the blame 200%,” Ramos admitted.
He also addressed suggestions that he and Marcelo had been involved in a training round spat, saying:
“We have exchanges in every training session. It’s part of working with pressure. But it’s just an anecdote like so many others that happen from day to day.”
Responding to suggestions that Solari’s days could be numbered, he added: “It’s a decision that’s not ours to make and in which we never interfere. We have enormous respect for the position and we always support the Real Madrid coach.
“These reflections are, without doubt, the result of a deeply disappointing season, but if success didn’t stop us, we’re not going to let defeat stop us. It’s our obligation to carry on, to work and to evolve.
“And [we have] to remember that some of us are lucky enough to play for @realmadrid, some of us are lucky enough to form part of its history, but Real Madrid was, is and will always be Real Madrid.
“No-one name makes the legend of Real Madrid, but we have all written that legend together.”
He said: “We have exchanges in every training session. It’s part of working with pressure. But it’s just an anecdote like so many others that happen from day to day. @MarceloM12 is like a brother to me.”