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Paris Saint-Germain’s Sergio Ramos reflected on “another learning experience” after finally making his long-awaited debut for his new club.
Ramos signed for PSG as a free agent in July after completing a trophy-filled 16-year stay with Real Madrid.
However, the 35-year-old was forced to wait for his PSG bow as he first had to overcome a calf problem that has plagued his years.
After standing on the bench for Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Manchester City, Ramos started with Marquinhos in the heart of PSG’s defense on Sunday, helping Mauricio Pochettino’s teamwork to a 3-1 victory over 10-man Saint-Etienne in the Ligue One.
It was only the sixth appearance Ramos has made in any tournament in 2021 – the last time the central defense played was in Madrid’s defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals in May. There had even been talk that PSG were considering terminating the defender’s contract.
Ramos’ appearances have only been for 485 minutes and he understandably looked rusty at times in the snow against Saint-Etienne.
He was at least partly to blame for Denis Bouanga’s opener when he failed to attack Wahbi Khazri’s post, even though PSG fought back through two Marquinhos goals and Angel Di Maria’s strike – all three of which were set up by Lionel Messi.
Looking back on his debut, Ramos tweeted: “A win and a return to the pitch. You have no idea how much I’ve longed for this! It’s been some tough months.
“Lots of uncertainty, lots of change and, worst of all, the pain of not being able to do what I love most: playing football. But that’s all behind me now.
“Another learning experience. It’s time to look ahead with optimism and ambition.
“Thank you to everyone who has been there with kind words and encouragement, especially my family, whose support has always been unconditional. When we go, there is more on the way!”
Ramos finished the match with 101 passes, most of all players, with 95 reaching their goals (an accuracy of 94.1 percent).
Only Di Maria (113) had more touches than Ramos’ 110, while the Spanish national team player won five of his seven duels, made three tackles and a joint team-high to interceptions.
With his 35 years and 243 days, Ramos became the oldest field player to play his first appearance for PSG in Ligue 1 since David Beckham (37 years and 298 days against Marseille in February 2013).
While Ramos appears to have put his injury problems behind him, PSG were awarded a blow late in which Neymar had to be taken off on a stretcher.
Repetitions showed that the Brazilian striker went painfully over on his left ankle and he could face a long period on the sideline.