Reeling Real turn to Ramos as Schuster shafted

AILING Spanish giants Real Madrid turned to former Sevilla and Tottenham coach Juande Ramos in a bid to get their stuttering season back on track after parting company with Bernd Schuster.

Ramos was yesterday presented to the media at a press conference at the Bernabeu immediately after Madrid sporting director Predrag Mijatovic confirmed that Schuster had left the club by mutual consent.

Schuster’s final game in charge was Sunday’s 4-3 home defeat to Sevilla — Madrid’s third defeat in four league games and a result that leaves the two-time reigning champions nine points adrift of leaders and arch rivals Barcelona.

Ramos has a huge task on his hands to get Madrid back into the title race, not least because the squad has been decimated by injuries, but the 54-year-old insists he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I would like to thank the board for their confidence — I face this job with excitement,” said Ramos.

“I hope I don’t let anyone down and that I achieve the successes that this club has set for this season.

“Real Madrid are a club at which any professional dreams of working. Once you have the chance, it is practically impossible to say no. To arrive at a club like Real Madrid, I don’t think there’s anything higher.”

Ramos, out of work since being axed by Spurs in October, has been given an initial six-month contract and will take charge of his first match tonight when Madrid host Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League. Madrid have qualified for the last 16 so the pressure may be less but this weekend Ramos faces a monumental challenge as Madrid travel to the Nou Camp to take on a Barca side unbeaten in 20 matches, of which 17 have been victories.

Schuster caused a storm when, following Sunday’s loss to Sevilla, he claimed that “right now it is not possible to win at the Nou Camp”.

But Ramos declared: “I think Real face any game with the highest hopes to win it, as we are talking about one of the world’s great teams. Barcelona are playing excellent football but Real have the character and prestige to go for a victory in any stadium in the world.”

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