Sergio Ramos' spat with fans adds to Madrid-Sevilla rivalry
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos will be looking forward to seeing the back of Sevilla and its fans after their top-of-the-table Spanish league match tomorrow.
Most players who return in a different jersey to a club they used to grace, and where they were cherished, are often celebrated and welcomed, until kick-off. But almost 12 years after Ramos transferred to Madrid, Sevilla fans retain a dim view of his departure.
The fate of draws and scheduling mean this matchup will be the third in less than two weeks between the clubs, and it's safe to say Ramos and Sevilla fans are sick of each other.
Ramos is used to being loudly booed by Sevilla fans at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in his hometown, but some "disrespectful" fans went further on Thursday when they allegedly insulted him during a Copa del Rey game.
Ramos angered the fans further when he converted a penalty kick 'Panenka' style and celebrated by provoking part of the local Seville crowd. He apologised to the majority of the fans, but said the radical supporters who insulted him didn't deserve his respect.
"Sevilla will always be home for me whether they jeer me or not," Ramos said. "But I'm the captain of Madrid, and I'll always try to do my best to help my team."
Madrid drew with Sevilla 3-3 on Thursday to advance to the Copa quarter-finals 6-3 on aggregate, and claim the Spanish record for itself of the longest unbeaten streak, at 40 games.
Madrid will be defending a four-point league lead on Sunday when it returns to Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Third-place Barcelona will try to keep pace with the leaders when it faces Las Palmas on Saturday at Camp Nou. Barca is one point behind Sevilla and five behind Madrid.
Lionel Messi has 12 goals in his last 11 matches, but he has never scored against Las Palmas, the only first-division club yet to concede a goal to the striker.
Also today, fourth-place Atletico Madrid host Real Betis with sights set on a third successive win to cut into its nine-point deficit to Madrid.