Would Sergio Ramos fit in at Barcelona?

Jasper Juinen

Recent reports in Spain have claimed that the relationship between Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos and club president Florentino Perez has broken down and even suggested the president would be willing to sell the 27 year old to Clásico rivals Barcelona. Which poses the interesting question, would the Spanish defender be a good fit for Barcelona?

The need for a centre back has long been discussed by various media sources and many solutions have also been posed. Signing Mats Hummels, Vincent Kompany, Daniel Agger and so on or putting faith in the youth of Marc Bartra. Tata Martino even suggested that the return of Carles Puyol solves this problem for Barcelona but this isn't a long term fix.

Let's start with positives of Ramos. The Seville born defender has made over 100 appearances for the Spanish national team and has developed a good partnership with both Puyol and in particular Gerard Piqué. Ramos and Piqué were at the heart of Spain's successful defence of the European title in 2012 and conceded only one goal during the entirety of the tournament. Earning them an average of 0.17 goals scored against per game, a feat Ramos and Piqué will be hoping to reproduce at this summer's World Cup. This, in theory, means Ramos should have a relatively easy transition into the Barça team were he to join the Catalans.

Another positive is during his time with La Roja, Ramos has shown he can play the "Barça" style. Spain, with the influence of Xavi, Piqué, Cesc Fàbregas and Andrés Iniesta, have adopted this style in recent years and used it to their strength something that Ramos has also flourished in. His quick pace has allowed him to contribute to attacks while being sure his defensive position is being covered by the likes of Sergio Busquets or Xabi Alonso.

This kind of pace is lacking in Barcelona's centre back current lineup. Marc Bartra has the pace but lacks the experience of Ramos while Piqué, Puyol and Javier Mascherano are rarely praised for their ability to out sprint an attacker.

Another attribute that Ramos posseses which would benefit Barcelona is his dominance in the air. Set pieces for Barcelona are often used as quick restarts and continuing the short passing nature but with someone as strong in the air as Ramos, corners could be utilised to find an alternative route against tough to breakdown teams. His aerial ability also has many defensive bonuses. An aerial challenge with a 6ft 4 striker is often the first test of defence, with may goalkeepers electing to pump the ball forward. With both Ramos and Piqué, who make a combined height of 12ft 4, these defensive duels would change from a problem into a quick regaining of possession.

Ramos is also very versatile. Beginning his career at right back before making the switch to centre back, the defender has shown he is capable of moving around the pitch to accommodate his team's needs. The Spaniard has also on occasion played in midfield like in this year's league Clásico, although not entirely successful it did show his manager, Carlo Ancelotti, does believe Ramos has the qualities needed for a defensive midfielder. This kind of versatility would help Barcelona avoid any kind of defensive injury crisis that results in the likes of Puyol playing right back and Montoya playing left back seen midweek against Ajax.

Now, we'll move onto his negatives and the biggest criticism of Sergio Ramos is his disciplinary record. Counting his sending off against Galatasaray, Ramos has now picked up seventeen red cards during his Real Madrid career. To put this into perspective, Carles Puyol has only been sent off three times in his Barcelona career. This record would put many Barça fans at unease at the thought of having one of their central defenders sent off in a big match. If Ramos were to join the Catalans, he would have to learn to curb his aggression and learn fast.

Another weakness of his game is his willingness to get forward can sometimes leave the defence bare. The biggest example of this is when the ball is high up the pitch and possession is lost, Ramos struggles to find his sense of positioning, this can be a real danger against the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund who are experts at counter-attacking.

In reality, it is unlikely that we will see a player so invested and happy with his club move to their bitter rivals, no matter how angry he is with the club president. It would be the equivalent of Xavi leaving Barça for Madrid and you just can't see it happening. But if Iker Casillas, a good friend of Ramos as was Mesut Özil, was to leave you may start to wonder if Ramos' Real career is heading to an abrupt end.

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