Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos would not score much in Argentina - Riquelme
Former Barcelona playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme says that current Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos would not score so many headers were he playing in South America, as defenders there would not allow him the freedom he gets in Europe.
The latest addition to Ramos' personal catalogue of dramatic late headed goals came in Sunday's La Liga clash with Real Betis at the Bernabeu, when he arrived free six yards out to meet Toni Kroos' corner and complete a 2-1 victory which returned his team to the top of the table.
The Blancos centre-back has now scored 10 goals in 28 games so far this season, all of them headers at set pieces, including vital interventions in December's La Liga Clasico at Barcelona and early March's Champions League round-of-16 second leg at Napoli.
Speaking on the Canal 13 show "Pasion por el futbol," the former Argentina international said that defenders in Europe were lax in letting Ramos start a run which allowed him to attack the ball in the air -- picking out his former teammate Walter Samuel as someone who would do a much better job of stopping the danger at source.
"[In South America] we mark differently," Riquelme said. "You watch it and Sergio Ramos comes running in and nobody touches him. Here he would not be able to get going. If Samuel marks him, he wouldn't score a goal."
Riquelme also said that Atletico Madrid and Uruguay defender Diego Godin, also a scorer of key goals for club and country including a 2013-14 La Liga winning header at the Camp Nou, was as good or better in the air than Ramos.
"Godin is a beast," he said. "I don't think that Sergio Ramos would score as many as Godin."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan