Yesterday’s Spain-England match offered its fair share of surprises—England played well? The red-hot Spaniards played like shit? Raheem Sterling scored? Twice??—but one thing that came as no surprise was that Sergio Ramos seemed to prove once again that he is an absolute bastard.
On the right side of the GIF above, you can see a coming together between Ramos and Sterling. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on from those images, so this video should help:
So, a lunging tackle by Spanish defender Jonny had sent Sterling tumbling to the ground, and the Englishman was sitting there in the penalty box staring at the referee, probably incredulous that the ref didn’t award him a foul. With Sterling’s head turned and the ref facing the opposite direction, Ramos crept over to Sterling before hopping over him. As Ramos walked over Sterling’s body, it looks like he stood on Sterling’s left ankle with his right foot, putting all his weight on the downed Sterling until his foot slipped off and he hopped on by.
Clearly, this would be a very dirty move done for no other reason than to hurt Sterling. It would be bad, deserving of a red card, a suspension, and maybe even a fine, and would mark Ramos as a dirty player. But did Ramos really do it? Even slowed down, it’s hard to tell definitively whether he did or not from the video above. Sterling did just get whacked on his left foot seconds before, so it’s possible he was reacting to Jonny’s challenge rather than Ramos’s alleged stamp. And there’s another angle of the clash going around that makes it look like maybe Ramos didn’t step on Sterling at all:
The above video is the most potentially exculpatory evidence for Ramos available, but it’s less persuasive than it at first seems. When lining it up with the slowed down video in the first video, the replay angle shows the moment after what appears to be the stomp, after Ramos’s foot had already slipped off Sterling’s ankle. The most relevant moment isn’t shown.
On top of that, we have some context clues to help come to a determination. As the first video shows, Sterling doesn’t start to grab for his leg until right when Ramos’s foot nears him. In that same video you can see teammate Harry Kane whip his head around right to Sterling a few beats after Sterling starts writhing, and then point back to Sterling while gesticulating to the ref. Did Kane hear Sterling yelp in pain, realize that something bad must’ve just happened, figure what it might have been when he saw Ramos standing so close, and attempt to call the ref’s attention to it? Hard to say, but it seems likely!
We also can’t forget Ramos’s long history of being the exact kind of overly aggressive dickhead who would pull a stunt like this. You don’t earn the all-time lead in yellow and red cards in La Liga, the Champions League, and the Spain national team, or inspire multiple lowlight videos of your dirty plays, by being the consummate gentleman. And who could’ve forgotten his career-defining dirty play from earlier this year when he did a judo takedown on Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final and busted the guy’s shoulder:
So yeah, it’s probably safe to say Ramos did that shit to Sterling—and if he did step on him, it was certainly intentional. Luckily Sterling wasn’t hurt and instead got to enjoy all 90 minutes of the upset win he orchestrated. And if the fact that Sterling torched Ramos and Co. en route to the 3-2 England win isn’t enough to lower your blood pressure after seeing Ramos get away with what likely was a low-down dirty stomp, this video might help: