Sergio Ramos is the absolute don. He's won everything there is to win. He's captained his club, he's captained his country. Everything Ramos does is with unquestionable confidence and style. When Nike were selecting a player to headline the Tiempo 7, it was an easy decision. Sergio Ramos echoes everything the Tiempo represents; confidence, understated style and leadership. We sat down with the main man in Madrid at the launch of the boot.

Before joining locals kids for kick-around in the Madrid cages at the Nike Tiempo 7 Launch Event, Ramos sat down to reflect on one hell of a season before getting ready to go again in 2017/18. An icon, a leader, a goalscorer. Sergio Ramos has made defending sexy, and winning his addiction. 

Sergio, you’re sitting here on the back of captaining Real Madrid to the Champions League and La Liga titles. Was the 2016/17 season the best in your career?

It’s tough to say. I’ve had a lot of success with Real Madrid, but I think it was the most complete season. The one where you are most happy with the outcome and wouldn’t change anything. The first “doblete” of the Champions League and La Liga, so it has to rank as one of our best.

You’re the first man to captain a club to consecutive Champions League titles. You've played with a lot of legendary captains, but which of them have influenced you the most throughout your career?

When I first started in Sevilla I played under the captaincy of Pablo Alfaro and Javi Navarro. Their way of leadership in the dressing rooms was the best version and I think I’ve taken some of their traits into my own captaincy. They were two great leaders to learn from. At Real Madrid I’ve had a number of great captains too; Raúl and Iker Casillas both had their own ways of leading and they’ve influenced me in their own way. I’ve learnt from the best. I also admired Paolo Maldini and Fernando Hierro.

You’re very experienced. You’ve won it all. But, do you still get those pre-game nerves when you wake up on a match day?

Yes, always. Maybe nervous isn’t the right word anymore, but I always feel a type of butterflies. I think that it’s always good to feel that, because the day that you don’t feel anything would be a problem. I’m a confident player so there’s little nerves, but an element of focus and a game day mentality.

Last season was personally your highest scoring season. Most of your goals were scored when your team were drawing or losing. Do you feel extra responsibility as captain to get involved and help your team out at the other end?

Yes, in certain way. Obviously my main role is to defend, but we know that we have great offensive potential, and because of that we win a lot of corners and free kicks where we can create some damage, and that’s why at a personal level I think I can score goals. I have a lot of chances to get in the box and it’s a good feeling as captain when you can help your team in anyway, whether that’s scoring goals or keeping them out.

This summer has been the first in while where you’ve had no summer tournament. Do you enjoy the time off or are you itching to get back to football?

I use the opportunity to rest and disconnect, and re-charge batteries, but obviously when you’ve spent 15 or 20 days without doing what really makes you happy, you are looking forward to coming back and getting in the best physical condition. 15 to 20 days is enough for me, I couldn’t do any longer.

Now that you’re a little older do you begin to look at the game differently? Do you begin to appreciate each day and game more? Time goes fast…

I don’t think about what might happen. I try to enjoy every moment like it was the last one, but I don’t ever think about retirement, if you do I think you begin to slow down and I want to play my career at the maximum tempo. I enjoy each day, be at my best level, and my body will tell me when it’s time to retire. 

Is the thought of retiring daunting?

No, I am not scared. Everyone has to retire eventually, but I still have a very young face so I still have plenty of years to enjoy!

Is there more or less pressure now you’re older and have proved yourself as a world class player?

There’s always pressure, but that's what you get for playing with Real Madrid. You are expected to perform at your highest level for every game and win trophies. On top of that I’ve been here for 13 years and I’m also captain of the team, so that means more pressure, so I always train and play in the right way. As soon as you take your foot off the gas at this level you quickly fall away. Real Madrid is successful because all its players give everything at all times.

You lead on the pitch, but off it you also lead with your image. You’re a stylish man and one of your passions is your tattoos. When did you get started on them?

I started when I was 14 with this one (shows us a grinning ghoul holding a football his back), this is the one that I actually like the least. It’s very common for that to happen when you are young and impulsive, but it’s still part of my story. Over the last 7 years I have gone on to get more tattoos. All of them are important to me and map out my life.

Do you use the same tattooist every time?

Yes, the most recent ones are all done by a friend of mine called Rodrigo Galvez. He’s a talented man, he’s tattooed a lot my friends and teammates too, I know that James Rodriguez also goes to him.

You’re a bit of a style icon these days. Do you ever look back at old photos of your younger self and have a laugh?

We all have our past. I think like a fine wine I got better with the years! When you take care of yourself, the better you look. I think it’s only natural that your image changes and you’re influenced in different ways as your get older.

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