THE HAGUE – The illegal efforts to force a second yellow card by Real Madrid’s captain and defender Sergio Ramos were ill-advised and, should Dutch team Ajax prevail in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, he will rue his actions, midfielder Frenkie de Jong said Friday.
The Netherlands international De Jong, 21, who is set to join Barcelona in the summer, called out Ramos’ hubris as the Spanish forward was penalized and will have to sit out of the Tuesday match and also any second CL match the Spanish powerhouse may advance to if Madrid were to beat Ajax.
The Dutch midfielder told the daily Netherlands newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, “maybe Sergio Ramos will regret it,” if Ajax pulls off an upset Tuesday at Madrid’s home Santiago Bernabeu stadium or if Ramos finds himself unable to play in the first leg of the quarterfinals.
With just one minute to go on Feb. 13 before the end of the match, after Spain winger Marco Asensio had sealed the 2-1 Madrid victory over host Ajax, Ramos deliberately earned a yellow card by blatantly fouling Ajax and Denmark forward Kasper Dolberg.
“Looking at the result, I would be lying if I said I didn’t force it,” Ramos said after the match.
Ramos, 32, clearly did force it, hoping that by sitting out of the second leg round of 16 match, he would clear all former yellow cards against him and be ready to play in in the first leg of the CL quarterfinals without any risk.
“It is not to underestimate the opponent nor to think that the series is over, but in football, you have to make hard calculations,” Ramos added.
What Ramos could not foretell was that UEFA looked at the event and ruled that the famed Spanish captain had cheated and dole out a two-match suspension.
In discussing the upcoming game, De Jong acknowledged that Ajax, the squad he joined in 2016, is the underdog in the lead up to the second leg.
“Real Madrid is obviously the favorite,” said the rising Dutch star.
Yet, De Jong stressed that he refused to throw in the towel as the team is intent on battling forward as long as it has life and a chance to play.
The Dutch soccer federation decided to postpone the league match Ajax was due to play against PEC Zwolle this weekend, so the players could focus on the Tuesday Champions League clash with the famed Iberian club.
De Jong said it was the right decision for the federation to make, as his side would have been exhausted had they had to play Zwolle before the trip to Madrid.