Ramos targets Dortmund 'revenge'
Sergio Ramos says intensity and aggression from Real Madrid's current players, not the club's past history of comebacks, is the key to its attempt to overturn a 4-1 deficit in Tuesday's Champions League second-leg against Borussia Dortmund at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The eight days since the first leg in Dortmund have been filled with talk of Madrid's history of rousing 'remontadas' in the 1970s and 80s, with the club's communications department and the Spanish media attempting to whip up an intimidating atmosphere inside the Bernabeu for the return game.
Blancos boss Jose Mourinho declined to add to the hype when he spoke on Monday, and his likely captain on the pitch for the game also told reporters that history would count for little if he and his team-mates did not perform against Jurgen Klopp's side.
"We feel the excitement that this competition has for Real Madrid," Ramos said. "Everyone knows about the 'remontadas' and what this badge means. It has been done many times before, but you do not win with your history. We have to believe in ourselves and show it."
The Andalucian also agreed with Mourinho that Madrid's players had been "naive" in not showing enough intensity and aggression in last week's first leg at the Westfalenstadion, and vowed things would be different this time around.
"If he says that, well … few people have his football knowledge," Ramos said. "Other things hurt me more than the word naive. If you do not play with intensity and aggression and show what you can do, then you will not do anything. In other matches we have won the individual battles but [in Dortmund] we did not. If we can change this, then things will change a lot. There is always the chance for revenge, and in football that is a good thing".
In response to a question as to whether he himself felt personal responsibility to right the mistakes of last week, the World-Cup-winning defender, 27, suggested Madrid's senior players had delivered some home truths after the first leg.
"After the other day the squad had to meet, speak and say things clearly," he said. "Some players, for the way they are, maybe took on that role. There is no better motivation than a Champions League final. I am here eight years and have not played in one."
Ramos, who played at right-back in the first leg, is expected to return to centre-half at the Bernabeu, given Pepe's troubles with four-goal Robert Lewandowski last week.
"I cannot tell you where I have been working in training these last few days," he said. "We work to stop the opponent on a collective level, not individuals. The other day he scored four goals, but one player does not shine if there is not collective work. Although it is true that there are some players who need special attention. The boss makes the decisions on who plays where."
Dortmund, who have now won two and drawn one of their three meetings with Madrid in this season's competition, had already proven themselves a great team, Ramos said.
"They are a great team and have shown it throughout the whole season," he said. "It will be difficult for us, but if we want to reach the final we need to beat the best teams. We must be focused, knowing we have to go for it due to the negative result, but also knowing they can score at any moment and complicate everything."