After emerging through Sevilla's youth academy, Ramos moved to Madrid in the summer of 2005. Since then, he has gone on to become a mainstay for Real Madrid where he has won 16 major honours and developed into one of La Liga's top scorers from a defensive position. Ramos' 16 major honours include: four La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles. He played a crucial part in the build up to all three UEFA Champions League titles, being named to the UEFA Squad of the Season all three times. He also notably scored the tying goal in the 93rd minute of the 2013–14 final.
Internationally, Ramos represented the Spanish national team at three World Cups and three European Championships. He won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro in 2008 and 2012, being named to the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2010, and the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament in 2012. He made his first appearance at the age of 18 and, in 2013, he became the nation's youngest player to ever reach 100 caps. He is the nation's second-most capped player.
Ramos is widely regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation. He was named to the FIFPro World XI seven times, a record for a defender and the fourth-most all-time, and to the UEFA Team of the Year six times. Also, he has been named La Liga's Best Defender a record four times, and to the La Liga Team of the Season in 2015–16.
Born in Camas, Seville, Andalusia, Ramos began his career at local side Sevilla FC, emerging through the club's youth system alongside Jesús Navas and Antonio Puerta. He made his first-team – and La Liga – debut on 1 February 2004, coming on as a 64th-minute substitute for Francisco Gallardo in a 0–1 away loss against Deportivo de La Coruña.
In the 2004–05 season, Ramos appeared in 41 games as Sevilla finished sixth and qualified to the UEFA Cup, scoring in home fixtures against Real Sociedad (2–1) and Real Madrid (2–2). In the season's edition of that European tournament, he scored his first continental goal, heading to conclude a 2–0 win over CD Nacional at the Estadio Ramon Sánchez Pizjuán in the first round (4–1 aggregate).
In the summer of 2005, Ramos was purchased by Real Madrid for €27 million, a record for a Spanish teenager. He was the only Spanish player brought in during Florentino Pérez's first stint as Real's president.
At the club, Ramos was assigned the number 4 shirt, previously worn by Fernando Hierro. On 6 December 2005 he netted his first goal for the Merengues, in a 1–2 UEFA Champions League group stage loss at Olympiacos.
During his first seasons, Ramos played as centre back, being also used as an emergency defensive midfielder on occasion. However, with the arrival of Christoph Metzelder and Pepe in the 2007–08 season, he was again relocated to right back. In his first four seasons at Real Madrid, Ramos displayed a goalscoring instinct unusual to many defenders, netting more than 20 goals overall. He also received the first nine of his 23 red cards for the club, including four in his debut season. His first red card came after two bookable offences in a 1–0 away loss to RCD Espanyol on 18 September 2005.
During the 2006–07 season, Ramos scored five goals, including one in a 3–3 draw with FC Barcelona, as Real Madrid won a record 30th Spanish league championship.
On 4 May 2008, he assisted Gonzalo Higuaín in the 89th minute against CA Osasuna in an eventual 2–1 away win, the match that sealed the club's 31st league championship. On the final day of the season, he scored twice in a 5–2 home win against already relegated Levante UD: one through a header, and another an individual effort; these goals taking his league tally for the 2007–08 season to five.
On 24 August 2008, Ramos scored in the 2008 Supercopa de España second-leg against Valencia CF, making the score 2–1 in an eventual 4–2 and 6–5 aggregate win. The victory came despite Real Madrid playing with only nine men for a long period of time after Rafael van der Vaart and Ruud van Nistelrooy were sent off. Although Ramos experienced a slight dip in form during the early part of the 2008–09 season, he returned to his best and on 11 January 2009, scoring an acrobatic volley in a 3–0 triumph at RCD Mallorca. He continued his scoring run the following week in a 3–1 home win against Osasuna.
Ramos was named in both FIFA and UEFA's 2008 Team of the Year, adding the FIFPro Team of the Year 2007–08 accolade. He also finished 21st in the European Player of the Year nomination for 2008.
At the start of the 2009–10 season, Ramos was appointed as one of Real Madrid's four captains. Because Pepe had suffered a serious knee injury during this campaign, Ramos was often deployed as central defender. He scored four goals in 33 league matches; and, on 21 February 2010 he played his 200th official match for the capital team against Villarreal CF (150 in the first division). Despite these personal highlights, Los Blancos finishing the campaign without picking up any silverware.
In Real Madrid's 0–5 loss at FC Barcelona on 29 November 2010, Ramos was sent off after kicking Lionel Messi from behind, then pushing Carles Puyol in the ensuing melée. After this ejection, he equalled Fernando Hierro's previous record of ten red cards at the club, despite having played in 264 fewer games. On 20 April 2011, Ramos started in the season's Copa del Rey final, a 1–0 win against Barcelona in Valencia. In the subsequent victory procession, while celebrating on the top of the club's bus, he accidentally lost hold of the cup, which fell under the wheels of the vehicle; the trophy was dented as a result.
On 12 July 2011, Ramos extended his contract with Real Madrid until 2017. The following 25 April, in the Champions League semi-finals' second leg against FC Bayern Munich, he missed his penalty shootout attempt as Real Madrid lost 1–3; the league campaign ended in conquest after a four-year wait, and he was the player with most balls recovered in his team, third overall.
On 9 January 2013, Ramos was sent off for a second bookable offense midway through the second half of an eventual 4–0 home win over Celta de Vigo for the domestic cup. He subsequently received a four-match suspension, after it was revealed he also insulted referee Miguel Ángel Ayza Gámez. The following month, mere minutes after scoring the second goal at home against Rayo Vallecano and less than 20 minutes into the first half, he received two yellow cards within one minute in the eventual 2–0 home success, taking his red card tally with Real Madrid alone to 16; and 12 in the league.
In late February/early March 2013, due to the absence of Iker Casillas due to injury, Ramos captained Real to back-to-back wins over Barcelona in just four days: he netted the 2–1 home winner in the second game, heading home after a corner kick.
On 14 December 2013, Ramos received a club record 18th red card for Real Madrid in a 2–2 draw at Osasuna, but the suspension was later lifted. His 19th came in a 3–4 home defeat to Barcelona, on 23 March 2014.
On 29 April 2014, Ramos scored twice from headers in a 4–0 away win against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League, with the tie ending with a 5–0 aggregate score and Madrid's qualification to the decisive match for the first time in twelve years. On 24 May, in the final against Atlético Madrid, he headed home in stoppage time to tie the game 1–1, and his team went on to win 4–1 in extra time to claim their tenth trophy in the competition; he was also chosen by fans as Man of the match.
Ramos started 2014–15 season on 12 August 2014 by playing full 90 minutes in 2–0 success against Sevilla to win first trophy of the season, the UEFA Super Cup. He then played the two-legged Supercopa de España final against Atlético Madrid with Los Blancos losing 2–1 on aggregate. Ramos scored his first goal of the season on 31 August in week two of La Liga, a header in a 4–2 away loss against Real Sociedad.
He scored in both the semi-final and the final of the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco as Real Madrid won the tournament, and was voted the player of the tournament.
On 17 August 2015, Ramos agreed a new five-year contract with Real Madrid, tying him to the club until 2020. He was also made captain after the transfer of Casillas to FC Porto.
On 20 December 2015, Ramos captained Madrid to a 10–2 victory over Rayo Vallecano, the club's highest scoring La Liga victory in 55 years. The following 13 March, he received his 20th red card for Real Madrid in a 2–1 win over Las Palmas, having earlier scored the game's opening goal with a header from an Isco corner kick. On 2 April, he returned from suspension in 2–1 victory against Barcelona at Camp Nou, where he was again sent off, receiving his 21st red card and fourth in a Clásico fixture.
On 28 May 2016, Ramos once again scored in a UEFA Champions League final against Atlético Madrid, putting Real ahead in the first half. After a second-half equaliser from Atlético. He then scored a penalty in the shoot-out which resulted in Real winning 5–3; thus, he lifted his first UEFA Champions trophy as a captain. He was named man of the match by UEFA after the game.
Ramos started in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup, scoring Real Madrid's second goal of the match in the 93rd minute, bringing the game into extra-time. Real Madrid were the eventual 3–2 winners, with Ramos being named man of the match.
On 3 December 2016, Ramos scored his fourth Clásico goal, an equaliser against Barcelona in a 1–1 draw at the Camp Nou, extending Madrid's unbeaten run to 33 games. One week later, he scored another late goal, this time after 92 minutes, to help Madrid claim a 3–2 victory against Deportivo de La Coruña. On 15 January 2017, Ramos scored an own goal late in the game against Sevilla which equalised the score at 1–1 and eventually Real Madrid lost the match 2–1 in stoppage time, thus ending their unbeaten streak at 40 matches. A week later, he scored both goals in a 2–1 win over Málaga, registering his 50th goal in La Liga.
On 11 February 2017, Real Madrid's 3–1 victory against Osasuna marked Ramos's 500th match with the club. On 12 March 2017, he scored an 81st-minute winner in a 2–1 home victory over Real Betis to put Los Blancos two points ahead of Barcelona at the top of the league.
On 22 May 2017, Real Madrid won its 33rd La Liga title with a 2–0 win over Málaga, giving Ramos his fourth league title overall and first as captain. On 3 June 2017, Ramos became the first man to captain Real Madrid to a league and European Cup double since the 1957–58 season, as the team defeated Juventus in the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final. This also made Ramos the first man to captain a team to back-to-back European Cups in the Champions League era. His ten goals in 2016–17 made it the highest scoring season of his career.
On 20 August 2017, in Real Madrid's first game of the 2017–18 La Liga, he received his 23rd career red card (18th in La Liga, joint highest record).
In 2004 Ramos became an instant hit for Spain's under-21, for whom he played six international matches. On 26 March 2005, in a 3–0 friendly win over China in Salamanca, he first appeared for the senior side at only 18 years and 361 days of age, making him the youngest player to play for the national team in the last 55 years. He held this record until 1 March 2006, when it was broken by Cesc Fàbregas in a friendly match against Côte d'Ivoire.
On 12 October 2005, Ramos scored his first two international goals in a 6–0 away thrashing of San Marino for the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He was selected for the final stages in Germany and, after the international retirement of Real Madrid teammate Míchel Salgado, became the undisputed first-choice right-back.
Throughout Spain's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, Ramos was a regular member of the starting eleven as the national side finished first in its group, above Sweden. He scored two goals, including one in a 3–1 away win over Denmark, in 11 appearances. In the tournament's final stages, Ramos played in all matches and minutes, except the 2–1 group stage win against Greece. In the final, his pass nearly set up Marcos Senna's first international goal, but the latter missed his opportunity by inches. During the celebrations after the 1–0 defeat of Germany, he wore a T-shirt in honour of close friend and former Sevilla teammate Puerta, who died in August 2007.
Ramos was selected in the squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, as Spain finished in third position. On 3 June 2010, he captained Spain for the first time, in a 1–0 friendly win over South Korea in Innsbruck, Austria.
At the 2010 World Cup, held in the same country, he started every game, helping the team keep five clean sheets and reach the final, which they won 1–0 against the Netherlands; he topped the tournament's Castrol Performance Index with a score of 9.79.
Ramos returned to the heart of the defence for the Euro 2012 tournament. When asked about his role change, he replied: “I have adapted and feel comfortable in the middle, but I am a World and European champion at right-back.” He played all the games in Poland and Ukraine alongside Barcelona's Gerard Piqué and, in the semifinals against Portugal, he converted his penalty shootout attempt in an eventual 4–2 win (0–0 after 120 minutes), scoring for the eventual champions in Panenka-style.
On 22 March 2013, Ramos celebrated his 100th cap by opening the scoring in a 1–1 draw with Finland in Gijón for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. He became the youngest European player ever to reach that figure in the process, surpassing Germany's Lukas Podolski. In June, Ramos contested in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, starting every match as Spain lost to the hosts in the final; he captained the side for their second group game, a 10–0 win over Tahiti at the Maracanã. On 30 June, he missed a penalty kick in the 3–0 Confederations Cup Final loss to Brazil.
Ramos was selected for his third World Cup in 2014. He played the full 90 minutes of each of the team's matches in Brazil, each with a different partner in central defence, as the reigning champions were eliminated from the group stage.
With David de Gea selected ahead of Iker Casillas in Spain's starting line-up, Ramos captained the team at UEFA Euro 2016. On 21 June 2016, he had a penalty kick saved by Danijel Subašić in a 2–1 loss to Croatia.
Ramos is a physically strong player who excels in the air, due to his elevation and heading accuracy, making him a goal threat on set-pieces; he is also a competent, aggressive tackler. He is gifted with pace, good technical ability, as well as good distribution and crossing ability. According to Spanish sports newspaper Marca, FIFA's official records confirmed that in 2015, Ramos was clocked at a sprinting speed of 30.6 kilometers per hour, making him one of the fastest footballers in the world at the time. He has been criticised, however, for his lack of discipline at times, and he holds the record for the most red cards obtained by a Real Madrid player. Due to his leadership, his athletic and technical prowess, his ability to excel both offensively and defensively, as well as his tactical versatility, which allows him to be deployed as a centre back and as a full back, former manager Carlo Ancelotti has compared him to legendary defender Paolo Maldini. Due to his tactical versatility, he has also occasionally been deployed as a central or defensive midfielder, in particular under Ancelotti during the 2014–15 season. Ramos has been praised for his decisive performances in important games, most notably for Real Madrid, due to his tendency to score clutch goals for his team, and is considered by several pundits to be the best big-game player in the world.
Ramos entered a relationship with journalist/presenter Pilar Rubio in September 2012, and this was confirmed by both at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala. They have two sons: Sergio (born May 6, 2014) and Marco (born November 14, 2015).
Ramos is a fan of bullfighting, which is popular in his hometown, and he is a personal friend of matador Alejandro Talavante. He celebrated victories for both club and country by playing with a matador's cape. Ramos is also a keen horse aficionado, owning a stud farm in his native Andalusia specifically dedicated to the breeding of the Andalusian horse. Ramos is Catholic, and has a tattoo of Mary which covers the top half of his left arm.As of 23 September 2017
1 Includes Supercopa de España.As of 5 September 2017
As of match played 12 June 2016. Spain score listed first, score column indicates score after each Ramos goal.
La Liga: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2011–12, 2016–17
Copa del Rey: 2010–11, 2013–14
Supercopa de España: 2008, 2012, 2017
UEFA Champions League: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17
UEFA Super Cup: 2014, 2016, 2017
FIFA Club World Cup: 2014, 2016
FIFA World Cup: 2010
UEFA European Championship: 2008, 2012
UEFA European Under-19 Championship: 2004
La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year: 2005
La Liga Best Defender: 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15
La Liga Team of the Season: 2015–16
UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17
UEFA Champions League Awards Best Defender: 2017
FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball: 2014
FIFA Club World Cup Most Valuable Player of the Final Match Trophy: 2014
FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2010
UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2012
2013 FIFA Confederations Cup: Dream Team
FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
UEFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year: 2015
2016 UEFA Champions League Final: Man of the Match
UEFA Super Cup Man of the Match: 2016
ESM Team of the Year: 2007–08, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2016–17
Castrol Performance Index: 2010 FIFA World Cup Castrol Index Winner
Castrol Performance Index: UEFA Euro 2012 Castrol EDGE Index Winner
2 Includes UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.