The Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos, will miss the Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool after sustaining a calf injury that is expected to keep him out for around a month.
The central defender felt a pain in his left calf while training on the pitch following Spain’s World Cup qualifier against Kosovo in Seville, in which he played only the final five minutes having recently returned from injury. Tests carried out upon returning to his club confirmed he has a muscle injury but no details were given as to the extent of the damage and no date was set for his probable return.
Ramos is yet to renew his contract, which expires at the end of June, and negotiations have reached a stalemate – opening up the prospect that, should his recovery extend much beyond a month, he could even have played his last game for the club he joined 16 years ago. He is certain to miss at least the opening game against Liverpool and the clásico against Barcelona. In an open letter to Madrid’s fans, he said he would be absent for “key games that will decide the season”.
Ramos had joined the Spain squad despite sustaining a knee injury that saw him return after six weeks, just in time for a league fixture against Elche and the Champions League return leg against Atalanta three days later. In both games he played an hour, missing Madrid’s next game against Celta with what was described as a knock.
He played 45 minutes of Spain’s first game of this international break against Greece, going off at half-time, sat out the second and appeared for five minutes at the end of their third. He has 180 caps and is chasing a world record of 185. After the Kosovo game no mention was made of any injury by the national team manager, Luis Enrique.
“To be honest it’s been a tough few weeks for me,” Ramos wrote on his Instagram. “After the game yesterday I stayed out on the pitch to train and felt a sharp pain in my left calf. I underwent tests today which confirmed that I have a muscular injury.
“What causes me even greater pain is not being able to help the team during these key games in which we will be playing to decide the season and not being able to repay all of you for the affection you give me. All I can do is speak frankly, work hard and support the team with my soul.”