He took the courageous decision to switch from Sevilla to Real Madrid in 2005 when Los Blancos had some of football's most celebrated stars in Roberto Carlos and Walter Samuel, but Sergio Ramos has built a remarkable legacy for himself in the Real Madrid folklore in the past 15 years.
Heralded as one of football's most gifted center-backs owing to his combative, expressive and aggressive approach, Ramos has lifted no lesser than 22 titles for Real Madrid besides several individual accolades.
He fit into the royal white just perfectly, but while the Spanish giants were getting their hands on silverware, Ramos had to wait eight years to call himself as a Champions League winner.
Undoubtedly, Real Madrid have been the best team in Europe's top-tier competition over the last decade and Sergio Ramos has been the most vital cog in that machine.
The center-half spoke to UEFA on one of the many dramatic UCL finals he was involved in for Real Madrid, exclaiming:
"It meant a lot to finally get to the final with Real Madrid after so many years battling [for this]. It was a dream come true to reach my first Champions League final and I was obsessed with trying to win it. It was really exciting for me."
Three semi-final defeats in a row hurt them dearly, but winning against Atletico Madrid in 2014 was always going to be extra special for everyone related to Real Madrid. It was indeed, a fairytale finish with Ramos lunging to meet a Luka Modric corner in extra time, to restore parity and take the game into extra time.
Reflecting on what inspired him to score that header in the 93rd minute, he revealed:
"Time was running out but I’ve always been a very optimistic person and I keep battling until the end, holding onto that last sliver of hope. While it remained possible, while there was still time, I was going to keep trying. I told myself, 'It can’t end like this.'"
"I remember thinking about my late grandparents. In those kinds of moments, I find ways to motivate myself. That kind of stuff helps me be the best person I can be. It makes me fight for every ball and try to get something out of every situation. I think it was that hope that gave me the strength to head the ball into the perfect spot where [Thibaut] Courtois couldn’t reach it."
Ramos, who has Real Madrid DNA in his core, added that is was not just him who scored that goal, but the whole of Real Madrid family.
Goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo in extra time further rubbed salt into Atletico's wounds as Ramos and co. clinched a mammoth 4-1 victory.
Perhaps, had he not headed the ball into the back of the net on the 93rd minute mark, that Real Madrid side would never have had the mentality to go on and win three consecutive UCL trophies - from 2015 to 2018.
Ramos opened up on the same, stating:
"It’s the most important moment in my whole career: it didn't just change the history of Real Madrid but also my career. That happiness will stay with me forever. It will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first Champions League. Your first title always tastes that little bit sweeter."
Ramos has stepped up for the Real Madrid multiple times, most often when they have needed him more than anyone else. The pride and consistency he attaches to the arm band is praiseworthy and unique in its own way. At 34, Ramos is still hungry and eager to win more titles with Real Madrid.