Moscow, July 2 (IANS) After Spain was knocked out of the FIFA World Cup 2018 by Russia, a dejected Spain skipper Sergio Ramos has said he will play the next World Cup in 2022 even at the age of 36 and with a “white beard”.
“I am not in favour of many changes,” Ramos said.
“This is not the end of a cycle, Pique and Iniesta are players who have been very important, but other people are coming up strongly from below,” he added.
“This team has a very good youth system, players with a lot of personality. I would like to keep going many more years. I am leaving this World Cup with a terrible pain. I feel obliged to reach Qatar with a white beard,” Ramos was quoted as saying by ESPNFC at the Luzhniki stadium mixed zone.
Ramos also backed coach Fernando Hierro, who is not expected to continue as coach ahead of the UEFA Nations League. “We are proud of the coach,” he said.
“It fell to him in a delicate moment, and we should be thankful that he had the courage to take it on. He did very well, despite the results,” opined Ramos.
“I’ve always thought that in football the coaches end up being ex-players. In this sense we were very comfortable with Fernando. It does not depend on us, but we would not mind if Hierro continued. As captain I just want the best for Spanish football,” he added.
Andres Iniesta, 34, and Gerard Pique, 31 — who won the World Cup alongside Ramos in 2010 — have already confirmed that they are leaving the national setup following a third straight disappointment at an international tournament.
Despite stringing together more than 1,000 passes against Russia, Spain could create very few clear scoring chances.
“In the end each person has their own different opinion.” Ramos said defending the team’s tactics.
“We have had this philosophy for many years, and comparisons with our best national team of all time are difficult. Football is about results, and they mark everything. I would have taken winning the group, playing as we played,” he said.