Thiago Alcantara has insisted that he will show no mercy towards his international “partner” Sergio Ramos when Liverpool and Real Madrid go head-to-head next month.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been drawn against the 13-time European Cup winners, and the first-leg in Spain on April 6 will be their first encounter since the 2018 final.
Los Blancos captain Ramos unsurprisingly has dominated the headlines ahead of his long-awaited reunion with Mohamed Salah, after a challenge on the Egyptian forward forced him off with a shoulder injury with just 30 minutes played in Kyiv.
Part two of the much-anticipated second instalment between the two of Europe’s biggest heavyweights undoubtedly has an added edge due to the bad blood between Ramos and Liverpool.
And while Thiago has talked up his relationship with one of the best defenders of the modern era, he has assured Liverpool supporters that any allegiances with his international teammate will be put to bed when he travels to Madrid for the first-leg.
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Thiago on Ramos
“I love having Sergio in the national team as a partner and when we are rivals, then he will be my rival,” he told AS.
“It’s great playing with Sergio. The years go by and you continue to learn from him; he keeps on evolving, keeps on wanting to compete.
“That ambition, that determination is key to what he’s all about. That’s something that rubs off on the rest of us in the Spain team.
“We can all learn from a guy who has won so much in the game, yet keeps on wanting more.”
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Indeed, much has been made of the bad blood between Ramos and Liverpool, but it’s important that we don’t underestimate the Spaniard’s influence on Madrid.
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo departed Los Blancos for Juventus, Madrid have been heavily reliant on the experience, tactical nous and overall quality of Ramos, as well as Karim Benzema.
Both players were extremely effectively in Zinedine Zidane and his team winning La Liga last season, while Madrid are still in the hunt to retain their crown this term.
Ramos has recently been on the sidelines due to a torn meniscus, but was back in action for Madrid’s second-leg triumph over Atalanta last week.