Real Madrid colossus Sergio Ramos is only the second captain in European Cup history to lift the trophy three times.
Franz Beckenbauer was the first, leading Bayern Munich to a hat-trick of wins from 1974 to 1976.
Madrid’s very own ‘Kaiser’ had been determined to make history and it didn’t matter whose dreams were trampled under foot.
Sergio Ramos joins Franz Beckenbauer as only two captains to lift European Cup three times
Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and so nearly Sadio Mane were left in his wake during the Champions League final in Kiev.
‘Sergio Ramos is the kind of guy who’d unplug your life support machine to charge his phone,’ tweeted Everton fan Rob Griffiths and as over 28,000 retweets suggested, that pretty much summed up how he had left many feeling.
Former Egyptian international Mido tweeted: ‘Anyone that understands football would know that Ramos injured Salah intentionally.
‘Any player in the world would’ve released his arm but Ramos held on to it and spun with it.’
In the BT Sport studios, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard were not of the same opinion.
‘He’s got close, like any defender should do and sometimes when you get that contact you do inter-link arms,’ said Lampard.
Ramos is the master of dark arts and skulduggery as he injured Salah while bringing him down
And when shown images of Ramos smiling and laughing with one of the referee’s assistants as Salah walked off, Ferdinand said: ‘I wouldn’t associate the two things. I think it was really good defending.’
Ramos also appeared to elbow Karius in the head in the 49th minute of the game.
Referee Milorad Mazic didn’t spot the incident and 60 seconds later a possibly groggy Karius didn’t spot Karim Benzema dangling a leg in front of him to put Madrid ahead.
Then there was the attempt to get Mane sent off by feigning contact to the face when the two clashed in the second half.
Ramos has form for that in finals. Twelve months ago he made sure Juan Cuadrado was sent off after exaggerating when the Juventus midfielder trod on his foot. It’s all there in the mix — the theatrics, the skulduggery, the dark arts. But that’s not enough to make him completely despicable.
Ramos uses all the tricks and may have a heart of stone, but his trophy cabinet is full of silver
The heart may be of stone but the trophy cabinet is full of silver. The 32-year-old marshalled Madrid’s defence brilliantly on the night. And he’s the captain every fan would want their team to have.
‘Why do Real Madrid need Zinedine Zidane to be an aggressive leader?’ Steve McManaman had asked in Spanish newspaper El Pais last week. ‘They have Ramos for that.’
He leads aggressively from the front but he has the huge respect of all of his team-mates. That was apparent inside the dressing room after the final as one by one Ramos embraced his colleagues.
They got up from the seats in front of their lockers to receive a hug from the leader. And with the goal nets still around his neck, European Cup in hand, he said something to each of them.
‘Great goal, brother,’ he said — surely ironically — to Karim Benzema of his rebound past the floundering Karius.
He gave his condolences to Salah on Twitter, but it will be of little consolation to Liverpool
He still had one hand tightly gripping the cup as he strode out of the stadium, carrying it past English reporters, stopping momentarily as he smiled and nodded down at the silverware. Gloating? Quite possibly.
On the bus, there was a tweet to fire off both in Spanish and in English. The latter read: ‘Sometimes football shows you its sweetest side and sometimes its most bitter. Above all we are fellow pros. Get well soon, Salah. The future awaits you.’
That will be little consolation to the Egyptian forward as his chances of making the World Cup hang in the balance. Ramos has a date with his tattoo artist in the meantime.
He will need to find space somewhere for a fourth European Cup.
He was asked about his tattoos in the build-up to the final. ‘You get used to the pain,’ he said. ‘You end up enjoying it.’ The suffering was all Liverpool’s on Saturday, most of it dished out by Ramos.