MADRID — With Real Madrid still recovering from one of the worst weeks in club history, team captain Sergio Ramos felt some issues needed to be addressed publicly.
So he did it himself.
In a self-interview posted on Instagram, Ramos talked about the "disastrous" recent events that ended Madrid's hopes of winning another title this season. The Spanish team collapsed in a week in which it twice lost to Barcelona and once to Ajax, being eliminated from the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, and seeing its Spanish league title chances all but end.
"As footballers we like to do our talking on the pitch but this season is not turning out that way," Ramos wrote on Monday in English. "I'm not hiding. We are not hiding. We the players are primarily responsible and I, as captain, more than anyone. That's why I thought that the most honest way to answer the questions that are circulating around us would be to tackle them directly."
He said forcing a yellow card in the first leg against Ajax — so he could be available for later phases of the competition — was "an error and I take the blame 200 per cent."
He downplayed a supposed heated discussion with president Florentino Perez following the 4-1 loss to the Dutch club at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, saying "dressing room issues are discussed and resolved in the dressing room. There's no problem whatsoever and everybody has the same interest: Real Madrid."
He also addressed criticism for allowing a film crew to shoot a documentary about him during the Ajax match at the Bernabeu.
"There are certain commitments made and it never remotely went through my head that the game could have turned out as it did," he said. "The recording itself was scaled down as the game went on."
Ramos also dismissed having a problem with left back Marcelo after reports surfaced about a discussion between the veteran players during a recent practice session.
"We have exchanges in every training session," he said. "It's part of working with pressure. But it's just an anecdote like so many others that happen from day to day. (Marcelo) is like a brother to me."
Ramos could not play in Madrid's 4-1 win at Valladolid on Sunday because of a suspension, but made the trip with the squad because he "wanted to be close and support my teammates."
He said he didn't criticize the rest of the squad after the consecutive home losses that practically ended the team's season.
"We always talk and motivate each other in the dressing room and always in a constructive way," he said.
Ramos also commented about Madrid's coaching situation, with Santiago Solari on the brink of being fired.
"It's a decision that's not ours to make and in which we never interfere," Ramos said. "We have enormous respect for the position and we always support the Real Madrid coach."
Ramos closed his post by saying "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 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 #RealMadrid was, is and will always be #RealMadrid. No one name makes the legend of Real Madrid, but we have all written that legend together. Together we have to work for the future and restore our hope."
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