The former Los Blancos right-back defended his former team-mate, who he believes will easily ignore his recent criticism in Russia
Sergio Ramos will not be affected by continued criticism over his challenge on Mohamed Salah during the Champions League final, according to Michel Salgado.
Ramos was accused of deliberately injuring Salah’s shoulder during the first half of Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev, with the Egypt international’s hopes of appearing in the World Cup subsequently thrown into jeopardy.
The Spain and Real Madrid captain also collided with Loris Karius during the game, and it has since been revealed that the clash left the goalkeeper with a concussion.
Salgado, however, does not believe that either challenge was deliberate, and has labelled the criticism of Ramos’ behaviour as stupid.
“No way [it won’t affect him]. He is strong enough to cope with any situation at all,” Ramos told Goal during the Betfair road to Russia preview. “He knows it is part of football. It is a stupid thing, a stupid reflection, if people say he is something to do with Salah’s injury.
“Of course he had something to do with it but he had no intention [of hurting him]. It was a challenge that was strong into the ball, like we are talking about with any other defender. We are talking about a Champions League final. Any 50/50, you have to go for everything.
“He dived into him to try and reach the ball, he was unlucky to go over on his shoulder but I know him. There’s no intention to injure Salah, it was an unfortunate situation. To be honest, I was, and even him, we were all really sad for Salah.
“Hopefully he will be back to his best at the World Cup because the kid has had an unbelievable season and, to be in the mix to win the Golden Ball with two monsters like [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo, you have to do really well.
“That’s what Salah did and, as I said, Sergio Ramos because of his personality and character, I have no doubt that he won’t be affected by anything off the pitch. He has got his experience, he has got his clear mind and when he is in there performing and ready for the game, he is like a warrior.”
Salah missed Egypt’s most recent 3-0 defeat in their warm-up match against Belgium. However, he is in the squad for the tournament and it is hoped that he will be able to return in time to play a major part in Egypt’s campaign.
Salgado is a huge fan of the Liverpool talisman and he believes that he could be the man to finally break Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or.
“I say that in the final it will be between Messi and Cristiano and another guy which I am happy with. That is Salah, you know it has been 10 years with the same pictures and the same guys dominating football,” Salgado continued. “For football, it has been amazing as well to see two guys dominating.
“I think it is going to be difficult to see another generation with two players like this one. Although I have to say, in these 10 years with the golden ball, I think it would be fair for a Spanish player [to win]. Anyway, that is something for the French guys [France Football, who run the Ballon d’Or].
“Right now, Salah is the only one who can end up or finish this reign of these two guys. How? He needs a good World Cup. Although it is not the same when playing with Egypt, with all due respect of course, than playing with Portugal or Argentina, for your chances to win the World Cup. I have to say that Salah is really in there.”
Salgado spent 10 years at the Bernabeu, where he won four league titles and two Champions League trophies, as he played for four seasons alongside a young Ramos.
Ramos has gone onto become an icon in Madrid and Salgado says that he isn’t surprised after watching him break through as a ‘cocky’ youngster.
“I remember when he arrived with a white suit from Sevilla. So many things,” Salgado continued. “Even now, I shared with him at his first World Cup in 2006 when I was with him. I was one of the captains in there. So many memories. I think I helped him a lot when he arrived at Madrid.
“He was playing as a right back, after his first year he was a centre back and then he moved back to right back when I picked up some injuries. Then I couldn’t come back so he did really well as a right back as well. I knew he was going to do really well as a real centre back because he has got the character to do it
“That’s why he is the skipper. He is an unbelievable player. The most shocking thing you could see about him was his personality. He was so young but he would step into the dressing room with that personality and with that character which is not easy.
“We are talking about having in there captains like me, Raul, so many players were still there. So, so many big players, then this kid comes in there and he is being really cocky. That is why he is who he is right now and what he represents for Spain and Real Madrid. It is because of his character.
“He is the skipper. He came to Real Madrid when he was really, really young, but he is a winner. We could feel that he has a special character, a character that makes you able to be a big player at Real Madrid and the national team. From the first moment we felt it.
“We could see so many players coming to Real Madrid and not being able to perform. Not because of their quality but because of their mentality, their brain.
“Ramos was the one who was able to do it since he was very young. He had a special personality. Right now, it is a different situation. He is an experienced guy, he is the skipper of the team. He feels that every time he steps out onto the pitch.
“As a Real Madrid player and as a national team, obviously, we need him so much. We could see that when he didn’t play at Juventus at home, we lost 3-0. It was 3-1 but it was last minute. You could see that we were missing something on the pitch. It was this.
“He was the heart of the team. He is very important for us in Spain. He is the one who right now is the leader when we are talking about the dressing room and that’s very important.”