In my last column I mentioned the need for nous on the pitch if Liverpool were to overcome the might and the quality of Real Madrid, and for me Sergio Ramos epitomises that nous.
It’s sad to see elements of social media looking for any way to lay the blame for that defeat elsewhere, and I can assure you that not a single ex-pro, as just a sample, has said to me they thought either Ramos’s challenge on Salah or on Karius were intended to injure his opponent.
In that sense you have to say that Mazic, the referee, got it right on the night and that although Ramos has plenty of form for manipulating a tackle or a coming together into something far worse, this was not one of those occasions.
I say Que Sera Sera, because you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth in sport. Everyone knows Ramos has a certain way he plays the game ahead of time and if you can’t make that work for you by being cleverer or stronger, don’t go whingeing about it afterwards.
That’s the only attitude that got me through the pain of missing out on the 2002 World Cup. A challenge from Rio Ferdinand, who in some ways I’d grown up with in football, in the very last minute of the very last training session, did for my metatarsal and put me out for the summer. I also missed a League Cup final with a last-minute knock. Que Sera Sera. Why do we always have to find someone to blame?
I do know plenty of people who actually went to the game in Kiev, and if anything they see a silver lining in Liverpool’s defeat in that the blatant need for a goalkeeper who can be mentioned in the same breath as your De Geas and your Edersons must finally have been driven home.
It was not Jurgen Klopp’s fault that the keeper chose a Champions League Final to have the worst game of his life, of course, and, if Mazic missed anything, there is actually a case for a shove leading to a penalty that sent Ramos into Karius and prompted the subsequent fuss over concussion.
I call it a fuss and it really is nonsense when people try and put what were everyday, routine grapples from what is a physical game under the spotlight in an effort to explain away a defeat.
You don’t need to tell me how much it hurts, because I’ve been there and only experience helps you deal with that feeling. Some have pointed to Karius having appeared to be isolated momentarily after the final whistle and said that, in contrast to the song, the German indeed was left to walk alone.
Again, I would beg to differ. The vast majority of Liverpool players were feeling equally devastated, I can guarantee it, and just at that point it is hard to think of others. Those that do have my utmost admiration, and he was actually consoled by Gareth Bale pretty quickly, but there were possibly not enough senior players in the ranks of the Reds to drop everything and go straight to him, and that in itself tells its own story.
I will never forget the actions of Diego Forlan when Atletico Madrid beat a Fulham side including myself to win the Europa Cup back in 2010. Not only was he the man of the match and thus had every right to go and get stuck into the celebrations, but he gave all that up to find and shake the hand of every single Fulham player instead, which showed real class.
I did not feel I needed his gesture, to be honest, but the same could not be said for others as we handle that kind of heartbreak in different ways. Having won my fair share of medals earlier in my career I was able to take our defeat as a kick up the backside.
Others, just like those who lost in Kiev, will carry their grief for who knows how long. My advice? Get over it, sometimes in life things are just not meant to be!