Madrid (AFP)

How to do without Sergio Ramos? Leader of men, defensive pillar and top scorer of Real Madrid since the resumption, captain merengue is suspended against Alavés on Friday in La Liga (20h00 GMT). A useful test before the scheduled absence of the defender in early August in the Champions League.

Here is Real forced to stay the course without its captain: with 5 goals since the resumption of La Liga on June 11 after three months of interruption due to pandemic, Ramos has become the handyman of the Madrid people, who will have to look other resources to continue their streak of seven wins in seven matches and continue their lone rider to the title.

Friday against Alavés is also a dress rehearsal for Real in view of the decisive 8th final return in C1 at the beginning of August against Manchester City, a match for which Ramos will also be suspended for having been excluded during the defeat in the first leg ( 2-1).

At 34, the Andalusian seems far from worn out. With a new look and a long beard that grew during the confinement, the captain of Real and the Spanish team (170 caps, most capped player) has one of his best seasons at Real, where he is arrived at 19, in 2005, from Seville FC.

- "Unique in it's genre" -

Ramos surpassed 450 matches at the "White House" (5th biggest total in club history) and became the most prolific central defender in the history of the Spanish Championship with 10 goals scored this season in La Liga, his new personal best: he has a total of 71 goals (69 with Real and 2 with Seville) and is ahead of Ronald Koeman's 67 goals.

"He is our leader, on and off the field. He is a unique player, we know what he brings to the team. He has a lot of confidence in him when it comes to taking penalties" , summarized the trainer Zinedine Zidane after the victory against Getafe on July 2, obtained thanks to a penalty from the captain.

Often decisive at crucial moments, the Real's designated shooter (he has achieved 20 consecutive penalties) made a splash with his header equalizing goals in additional time in the 2014 Champions League final against Atlético Madrid. , or during the clasico 2016 against Barça at Camp Nou (1-1), for example.

This season, he pulled his team out of a few bad passes, like this 17 February, against Celta Vigo, where Real showed worrying signs of weakness, but where they managed to catch the draw thanks to a penalty from Ramos (2-2).

- A chance for Militao -

But his suspension on Friday, then against City during the European shock planned for August 7 or 8, highlights one of his main shortcomings: his lack of discipline. The "bad boy" Ramos is the player with the most red cards in the history of Real Madrid, La Liga, the Champions League and the Spanish selection!

His absence will force Raphaël Varane, back after a neck injury, to take responsibility for ensuring the defensive tightness of a Real which has the best rear guard of the whole continent (only 21 goals conceded in 34 games ).

And it will also be an opportunity for Brazilian central defender Eder Militao (22), who arrived in Real 2019 from Real from Porto for 50 million euros, but who had to spend the season in the shadow of the duo Ramos-Varane.

With the injury of the French world champion, Militao seized his chance against Bilbao. Against Alavés, and against Manchester City, it is up to him to show that Real can win without Sergio Ramos.

© 2020 AFP