CURITIBA, Brazil: Despite being the reigning champions, Spain have revenge on their mind, experienced defender Sergio Ramos said yesterday from Curitiba, where he was named as a Unicef ambassador.
Spain may have won the World Cup in South Africa four years ago but last year they were humbled 3-0 by hosts Brazil in the Confederations Cup final.
And now Ramos, 28, says he and his team-mates have the ideal opportunity to get their own back for that rare defeat.
“We’ve already been in Brazil for the Confederations Cup -- football always gives you a chance for revenge after you get this little thorn in your side.
“We’re the champions, there’s high expectation. It’s always possible but winning a World Cup is very difficult.”
Quite apart from the opportunity to right the wrong from June 2013, Ramos, who also spoke of his pride at being named a Unicef ambassador, said there was something special about playing in a World Cup in Brazil.
“It’s always a dream to play in a World Cup and to do so in Brazil, who have a very prestigious team that has always made a difference and always been favourites, you dream about wearing your country’s jersey and playing in a World Cup, and all the more if it’s in Brazil.”
But the Real Madrid star, capped 116 times since making his international debut in 2005, insisted his country are not getting carried away with themselves, particularly given they have been paired in Group B alongside the team they beat in the final in 2010, the Netherlands.
“The most important thing is to make the most of the World Cup. First up there are three excellent teams in Holland, Chile and Australia before we can start thinking about the second round, quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.
“We have to take it one game at a time, which is what will guide us to success, that alongside humility and hard work.
“We’re prepared to face the best in the world, which is what gives you prestige.”
Being a cornerstone fixture both in the Spain and Real teams, Ramos has won everything there is to win in both club and international football.
Real’s victory over city rival’s Atletico Madrid in last month’s Champions League final -- Ramos saving Real in time added on of the second-half by levelling the scores before they went on to win 4-1 in extra-time -- gave Ramos a full house of trophies alongside his three Spanish titles, two Spanish Cups, World Cup and two European Championships.
“It’s flattering when people say I’m one of the best defenders in the world but that brings with it a great responsibility.
“I’ve won a lot of trophies but in football you can’t live in the past, you have to keep proving yourself every day.
“This flattery invites me to work hard to better myself and improve every day.”AFP