“In soccer, there are no brothers.”
Sergio Ramos’ mother recalls what her famous son said after breaking his elder brother – and now agent – Rene’s nose in a friendly a number of years ago.
No anecdote better encapsulates the winning mentality of a footballer who is both loved and loathed.
It is one of many revelations from an Amazon documentary about the Real Madrid and Spain captain, which attempts to show his other sides – the family man, the musician and even the world champion horse trainer.
“That image doesn’t always reflect who I really am,” the 33-year-old says at the start of El Corazon de Sergio Ramos (Sergio Ramos’ heart). “I have never shared my private live with anyone.”
This is what we learned about Ramos – warning, spoilers ahead.
‘The worst season ever’
“When we opened the doors to Prime Video to make this documentary series, we didn’t imagine that it would be the worst season,” Ramos told Esquire.
Filmed over the course of the 2018-19 season, Real, who had won four Champions League titles in five years, finished third in La Liga, were knocked out of the European Cup by Ajax and had three managers.
Early in episode two, before Real are beaten 5-1 at the Nou Camp by Barcelona to signal the end of manager Julen Lopetegui’s reign, Ramos says: “We’ve never experienced anything like this since I’ve been here.
“We can’t go out with these results, we can’t even take our kids to the park.”
He also addresses deliberately picking up a yellow card during Real’s Champions League tie at Ajax, which led to a two-game ban by UEFA and him missing the subsequent 4-1 defeat in the return leg as they crashed out of Europe.
“It was the one small dark moment in the game,” he says.
“It’s nothing, the guy knows that. I didn’t even touch him, yet he claims I stepped on him,” adds Ramos. “With everything that’s happened that is the last thing I needed.”
His father ‘almost killed him’ over his first tattoo
“I honestly couldn’t tell you how many tattoos I have today,” Ramos says.
His body is covered in ink, including images of the Champions League and World Cup trophies etched on his calf muscles.
But his first ever tattoo, he reveals, was a small elf with a football which was inked on his back when he was 14 or 15 years old. “My father nearly killed me,” he says.
That tattoo is no longer visible – he has since covered it up with a wolf.
He’s a world champion horse breeder and guitar player
Aside from football, Ramos’ other passions in life are horses and music.
He is a horse breeder, owning the Yeguada SR4 stables in Seville. His favourite stallion, Yucatan de Ramos, which he describes as the “apple of my eye”, has been crowned world champion.
Ramos also loves flamenco music and is a keen singer and guitar player, saying that music is a “way of freeing myself”.
When told by wife Pilar that he sings well, he replies: “I sing with conviction, but I don’t sing well.”
In one episode called ‘Music’, we see Ramos play his guitar live on the Spanish show El Hormiguero.
He has a bromance with Vazquez
Spanish winger Lucas Vazquez and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric are the only other Real players to feature in the documentary.
Vazquez and Ramos have special handshakes the pair started creating “when we first had aspirations of winning the Champions League”.
The pair bet on who will score the most goals, which Ramos would have won with his 11 compared Vazquez’s five.
And they love to wind up Ballon d’Or winner Modric.
As Vazquez and Ramos talk about their prospects of winning the Copa del Rey, Modric can be seen speaking on a video call next to them.
“Modric is on the phone all day,” says Ramos. “We give him a hard time, plus he starts talking Croatian very loudly, so we give him an even harder time.”
He practices Panenka penalties… a lot
Many of Ramos’ 108 goals for club and country have come from the penalty spot and he favours the ‘Panenka’ style chip down the middle of the goal.
Ramos is shown practising the technique long after training has finished.
He says he started using it as he scored in Spain’s penalty shootout win against Portugal in the Euro 2012 semi-finals, just months after he missed a penalty against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League semi-final.
“We have all copied someone and in this case it was Panenka, often the easiest thing to do is the hardest,” he adds.
He’s a family man but his isn’t his child’s favourite player
His three children Sergio Jr, Marco and Alejandro and wife Pilar are clearly the most important things in Ramos’ life.
We see Ramos play football with his kids in the garden, give them advice and lament being away from his family.
He also reveals that, before he met TV presenter Pilar, he “dreamt of her for three nights in a row”, adding: “I thought she was a bit out of my league, but she eventually came around.”
And in the Ramos household, the defender is not his son’s favourite player, with Sergio Jr choosing Modric instead.
While he may have broken his brother’s nose when they were younger, Rene is Ramos’ closest confidant.
And going through his vast football shirt collection, which includes those worn by David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Roberto Carlos, he holds up a “legendary” one with Rene’s name on the back, from his playing days in a third division side.