Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has claimed that Sergio Ramos’ foul which ruled Mohamed Salah out of the 2018 Champions League final was a premeditated act.
Ramos received a torrent of abuse from Liverpool fans after his challenge with Salah, just 31 minutes into the European showpiece, forced the Egyptian out of the contest. Liverpool’s talisman would prove to be sorely missed as the Merseysiders went down 3-1 in the final.
Now, Chiellini has revealed that he believes the ‘innocuous’ challenge was far from an accident, and that the injury sustained by Salah was a ‘masterstroke’ on the Spaniard’s behalf.
“He has two characteristics that almost nobody has,” Chiellini told Spanish news outlet AS. “Knowing how to be decisive in important games, with interventions beyond any logic, even with injuries that he causes with almost diabolical cunning.
“Salah’s was a masterstroke. He, the teacher Sergio, always said that he did not want to, but he was aware that falling that way and without leaving that grip, nine times out of ten you can break your rival’s arm.”
Chiellini went on to add that Ramos has an aura among the Real Madrid squad, and believes the Spanish centre-back’s absence from Madrid’s Champions League second-leg tie with Ajax in 2019 is the reason they were knocked out of the competition following a 4-1 home defeat.
“The force that he transmits with his presence,” he added. “Without him, stars like Varane, Carvajal and Marcelo, seem like kids from the Primavera team. Madrid becomes a defenceless team.
”After the first leg [vs Ajax last year] they gave him two days of sanction because he is authentic: he said that in life you have to choose and recognized frankly having looked for that card to ‘clean up’ for the quarter-finals.
“With him at the Bernabéu, they can be sure that they would not have lost three goals apart. I bet whatever they want.”