The sight of Sergio Ramos wearing Spain’s famous red jersey is something fans have grown accustomed to seeing since 2004.
A pillar in the defense of both La Roja and Real Madrid for almost 15 years, the Spaniard’s absence at Euro 2020 may come as a surprise to many.
With 180 caps for his country and medals in both the World Cup and the European Championship, he is one of the most decorated international footballers in history.
Still, he was not included by Luis Enrique in his Spanish squad for the tournament this summer due to a lack of form and fitness due to a series of insignificant injuries.
It was a disappointing campaign for Real as they ended the season without a trophy and with Ramos out for much of the season – a factor that ultimately forced Enrique’s hand.
The Spain boss explained: “Ramos couldn’t compete this season, he couldn’t train with the squad.”
He added: “I can clearly see that this is a complicated decision. I recommended that he be selfish and that he regain his level to play in his club and in the national team.
Ramos only played two games in 2021 after undergoing successful knee surgery in January and was left on the bench for the last game of the season against Villarreal.
And on Wednesday night, it was confirmed that Ramos will leave the club when his contract expires on June 30 after 16 years of service.
Spain begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Sweden in Sevilla on Monday night, with Ramos pledging his support for the team ahead of his campaign.
He wrote on his Instagram: “After a few difficult months and a strange season like anything I have known in my career, here is the Euro.
“I fought and worked every day, body and soul, to be able to reach 100% for Real Madrid and the national team, but things don’t always go the way we would like.
“It pains me not to have been able to help my team more and not to play for Spain but in this case the best thing to do is to rest, to fully recover and to come back next year like we’ve always done it. It hurts not to represent your country, but I have to be honest and sincere.
“I wish all my teammates good luck and hope we have a great Euro. I will be another cheering fan from home.