Past counts for nothing now, admits Ramos
PARIS (AFP) –
Sergio Ramos on Monday warned that Spain’s recent glorious achievements count for nothing now that the reigning European and world champions’ presence at next year’s World Cup in Brazil is in doubt.
Spain have won three consecutive major international tournaments, an unprecedented feat in top-flight football, and have not lost a competitive game since the start of their campaign at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
That remarkable record means they remain the favourites to beat France at the Stade de France on Tuesday despite stumbling to a 1-1 draw against Finland at the weekend and handing the initiative in Group I to Les Bleus in the process.
“The numbers and statistics are there to back us up, but football has no memory,” said the Real Madrid defender.
“What happened in the past matters for nothing now. We need to prove ourselves every day.
“Nobody can change what happened at the last two European Championships and the last World Cup, but we cannot live off these successes.
“We need to have the desire to keep improving and maintain that hunger to win titles.
“You don’t beat anybody with the badge on your shirt alone.”
Ramos, who agreed that the special feeling of winning his 100th cap for his country on Friday was somewhat spoiled by the result against Finland, added that he is mystified as to why so many in France are questioning Karim Benzema.
The striker, a team-mate of Ramos at Real Madrid, has scored just three times in his last 23 appearances for his country, and not at all since a friendly against Estonia prior to Euro 2012.
He was again off-colour in France’s 3-1 win against Georgia last Friday, but Ramos believes that Benzema will soon be back among the goals.
“It is madness to question Benzema,” he said. “He is a very special player, extraordinary.
“There are not many players around who can reach his level when he is on form.
“I know him well and we will need to be constantly keeping an eye on him, because if you forget about him for one second he will score.”