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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 March 2021

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos marks European appearance record with two missed penalties as Switzerland hold Spain

Defender fails from the spot for the first time since May 2018 on his 177th cap for his national team

Spain manager Luis Enrique insisted Sergio Ramos will remain on penalty duties after the Real Madrid captain missed two spot kicks in the 1-1 Nations League draw against Switzerland on Saturday.

Ramos, 34, was playing his 177th match for Spain to break Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's European appearance record but the historic milestone was somewhat marred by his missed penalties.

The defender truly made his mark on the occasion, ending a remarkable run of scoring 25 consecutive penalties by missing two in the second half while also producing a goalline clearance to prevent Switzerland forward Haris Seferovic making it 2-0.

Ramos could also have scored in open play late in the game only to miss the target, but Gerard Moreno did find an equaliser to avert what would have been a second consecutive Nations League defeat for Spain after last month's 1-0 loss to Ukraine.

But Enrique said Ramos's twin spot-kick misses would not affect his captain.

"Sergio's numbers when it comes to taking penalties are in the reach of few players. If we had got a third penalty or a fourth one he would have taken them as well," he said. "He had scored his last 25, but football has moments like this."

The number one spot-kick taker for Real Madrid and Spain, despite being a defender, Ramos has been imperious from the spot in recent years, with his last miss coming when he hit the crossbar in Madrid's 3-2 defeat by Sevilla in May 2018.

He has confessed to relishing the high-stakes situation of a penalty, scoring a number of crucial spot-kicks in Real's run to the Primera Liga title last season as well as netting from the spot in last month's 3-1 win at Barcelona.

But he finally met his match in Swiss keeper Yann Sommer, who guessed the right way to parry Ramos' first penalty early in the second half and then refused to be fooled by the Spaniard's 'Panenka' routine which has worked so well for him in the past.

"It's a real shame that Ramos missed the penalties because he's usually so good," said Spain forward Dani Olmo.

"But he's very strong mentally and I'm sure that the next time he takes a penalty he'll score."

Published: November 15, 2020 09:25 AM

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