On 25th April 2012, after 120 minutes of action, the winner between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich was decided by penalty Shoot-out. It was Madrid’s second consecutive semi-finals appearance in the UEFA Champions League.

After Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka misses from the spot, Casillas kept Los Blancos in the game by denying Kross and Lahm. Ramos was next for the spot-kick. What happened next changed the course of life for Ramos. He sends the ball way over the bar, and thereby Real Madrid got knocked out of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the second consecutive year.

After the disheartening defeat against Bayern Munich Ramos told his brother Rene and his friend Jesus Navas that he would take his next spot-kick, no matter against whom in the “Panenka” style. He delivered what he said. In a penalty shoot against Portugal in the UEFA Euro semi-finals, Ramos scored in Panenka style.

It’s been eight years since the disastrous penalty at Santiago Bernabeu, and things have amended positively for Real Madrid captain. Ramos worked on his spot-kicks and made some dispensable changes in his technique. Like in 2012 against Bayern, Ramos went for power, no mind game, no second thought, just the power. Now, Ramos takes a short run-up, is more precise, and has an Exquisite technique that fools the keepers easily.

Los Blancos number four is very fond of panenka penalties, and he regularly uses the technique to deceive the goalkeepers. Panenka is a technique in which the penalty taker instead of hitting the ball on the right or left of the goalkeeper hit straight in a lofted manner. It deceives the goalkeepers who tend to dive sideways. This technique was first used by Czech player Antonin Panenka, against West Germany in the 1976 European Championship final Shoot-out.

His perfect execution of Penanka at a number of occasions even charmed the inventor. In an interview, Antonin Panenka said, “Of course, I know that Ramos is taking penalties in my style, everyone says so. It’s making Belgrade 1976 come back to our lives again. I appreciate it greatly. What memories and chills!

“I’m really proud that Ramos has developed a taste for shooting penalties like that, as do many other top-level players. Ramos is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. It is not the first time he uses my shot, he is a regular, and I am glad that he is.”

Ramos was never the first choice when it comes to spot-kicks for both club and country. The only chance he got was during the shootouts only. But, when Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid and Joined Juventus after the 2017/18, Ramos succeeded Portugal as the penalty specialist for Real Madrid. His prolific performance at Madrid earned him the number one choice for the country as well. Since the beginning of the 2018/19 season, Ramos hasn’t missed a single penalty. He has scored 17 successive spot kicks for club and country. For Real Madrid, his penalty rate conversion is 82%, and it rises to 92% when it comes to international duties.

Ramos has scored five penalties this season. Most recently against Real Sociedad as Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad by 1-2. With this win, Los Blancos have acquired the pole position and are leading the La Liga race.

No doubt Sergio Ramos is one of the most reliable players for Real Madrid. He played a significant role in Real Madrid domination at the European level. He captained the side which achieved the unprecedented feat of winning the three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. Ramos is a leader, fighter, goalscorer and now also added penalty specialist to his long list of achievements. Real Madrid will be hoping to get their hand on 34th La Liga title this season and Ramos would play an instrumental role in it.

© The Eastern Herald

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