Sergio Ramos' substitution against Kosovo was the second in a row. Never, since he made his debut in a friendly against China in March 2005, had the Andalusian center-back been relegated to the bench in two games in a row due to a technical decision, which is what Luis Enrique claimed after setting him up against Georgia. The coach, both by changing him to halftime against Greece and by not giving him a minute in Tbilisi, assured that the captain of the Red was in perfect condition to play.
This second replacement for Ramos and the final minutes he played to add his 180th Internationality has further entangled an issue that already caused controversy when Luis Enrique admitted that the substitution at halftime against Greece had been agreed . With that decision, a change had been sacrificed in an official match that at the end of its first half (1-0) was not resolved. The entry of Ramos in the last moments, replacing Eric García, once again fueled the controversy. It's not the first time. In the friendly with the Netherlands in November, he gave him five final minutes and in September, in another gig with Portugal, he gave him eight.
“Everything is simpler than you think,” Luis Enrique warned the press. “It is a technical decision. Okay, it comes from an injury. I have decided that others play, nothing more. The intention that he played is evident. The leader is in all facets. He deserves to break all the records ”, defended the coach, determined to help Ramos catch up with the Egyptian Ahmed Hassan (184) as the player with the most caps in history. “The best players play. I do not care about the image that may remain or you can generate. I worry about my team. No matter what he does or says with Sergio, he will always provoke debate ”, the Asturian emphasized.
Luis Enrique gives instructions to Gerard Moreno. / ALEJANDRO RUESGAalejandro ruesga / EL PAÍS
Ramos, who turned 35 on Tuesday, also gave his explanations before the TVE microphones. “It is important to add games and achieve the objective, which was to add these three points. Whether it's one minute, one game, half time … that's not my decision, it's the coach's ”, snapped the captain of La Roja. The sequence of events, from the first decision to replace him at halftime against Greece, what has revealed is that Luis Enrique saw him fit to play that half time, but later, by his own admission, he has perceived that Eric García, Diego Llorente and Iñigo Martínez were better to start against Georgia and Kosovo.
“Little by little I am finding my rhythm after a major knee injury. The coach was quite clear. Everything that is said about me is taken out of context. The reality is one and the coach said it. When it's my turn to start it will be with joy and if it's like today, the same. The important thing is to add ”, argued Ramos.
If Luis Enrique spent an hour in the hotel elevator, to Spain, his particular traffic jam did not last an hour, it was half, but as alarming as what was seen against Greece and Georgia until that Olmo put that ball through the squad of the petrified Ujkani . “I am very happy with what I have seen on the field. A rival who has changed the system and tried to be more fearful. We played a good game. We have generated opportunities, but we have not been very successful. At no time has victory been in doubt ", analyzed the coach. On Unai Simón's mistake in the Kosovo goal, Luis Enrique said: “My confidence even grows, because that's what I ask of goalkeepers. The action worries me zero. ”
Finally, the Asturian coach took stock of these last three games. "Against Greece and against Kosovo a remarkable low, and against Georgia, a low good" .
The technician arrives just after an hour locked in the elevator
The daily routine of taking an elevator can provide diabolical metaphors. Luis Enrique and five members of his coaching staff were trapped in the elevator that runs through the interior of the skyscraper where the Eurostars of Seville is located. It took the workers about an hour to rescue the coach and his assistants, who arrived at the stadium of La Cartuja in a private vehicle, with just enough time to hear how the public address system was limited to jointly announcing the anthem of Spain and that of Kosovo. “We had a plan B within our staff . The loss of the mister would not have been noticed ", Luis Enrique warned before the microphones of TVE. It was the anecdote of a night in which Spain signed 24 auctions, 11 of them between the three suits and with Ferran Torres (seven) as another resource insistent. Despite having only 19% of possession, Kosovo managed to add suspense to the game.
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