Spain coach Moreno hails record-breaking Ramos

By Jamie Smith 13 October 2019
Spain coach Moreno hails record-breaking Ramos

Sergio Ramos was hailed as an "incredible" servant to Spain by coach Robert Moreno after becoming the most-capped player in the team's history.

Ramos made his 168th international appearance in a 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifier away to Norway on Saturday, edging ahead of his former Real Madrid and international team-mate Iker Casillas.

The defender has won two European Championship titles and a World Cup with Spain and has indicated he wants to play at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, while he previously set reaching 200 caps as a target.

While the Olympics starts less than two weeks after Euro 2020 ends, complicating Ramos' potential schedule for next year, Moreno praised the Spain skipper for his continued desire.

"Ramos' record is incredible," Moreno told a news conference. "And he still wants to compete, win titles.

"I want to congratulate him publicly and hopefully he can give us joy for much longer."

Among the celebrations for Ramos there was disappointment for Spain at Ullevaal Stadion, though, as Joshua King's second-half stoppage-time penalty prevented La Roja from sealing a spot at the finals with three games still to play.

Bournemouth striker King struck from the spot after Kepa Arrizabalaga's clumsy challenge on Omar Elabdellaoui saw referee Michael Oliver point to the spot.

"I'm left with a bad feeling because when you concede an equaliser at the end it is not good," Moreno added. "We tried to have the ball and control, and in the last minutes we had to kill the game.

"I liked the attitude of the team, but not the first half. In the second half we have tightened up more, we generated opportunities to score the second goal ... but in the end the control has been lost."

Spain will have another chance to secure qualification when they travel to play Sweden on Tuesday.

Moreno said: "We are going to try to win in Sweden, and we are going to try to score 28 points [in the group campaign] since we will not be able to get 30. Norway have been very strong, and played with the ambition of a team that still has options [to qualify].

"They go crazy when there is a team that has nothing to lose, and that's what happened to Norway."

Spain's line-up to face Norway included players from 11 different clubs, with Moreno accepting it might be beneficial were clubs such as LaLiga giants Barcelona or Real Madrid providing more talent to his squad.

"We have many players from many teams," he added. "I would love to have seven players from the same team, who will play together every week ... but that is not the case.

"It is a statistic that I did not know, but it means we have many good players in many good teams."

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