Real Madrid’s Ramos could play up front if needed – Solari

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Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said defender Sergio Ramos could play at centre-forward if needed, and added that he was happy with the “Panenka” approach that has seen him convert all seven of their penalties this season.
But Ramos said he might have to change his approach to penalties despite his consistent success with the Panenka method.
“It’s how I like to play and hopefully they will keep going in, but I can’t take it for granted,” he told Madrid’s website. “Keepers are staying on their feet for longer, so maybe I’ll have to put it to the side next time.”
Solari described Ramos as a “warrior” after he struck twice in Thursday’s 4-2 Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg win at home to Girona.
Asked whether the defender could play up front, he told reporters: “I wouldn’t rule it out.
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“Sergio is a warrior, a leader. He showed that in defence, and in the opposition area heading his second goal just like a centre-forward.
“He took the penalty like that [a Panenka], he’s a specialist — so perfect. He doesn’t just take them like that, but in many different ways.”
An entertaining game at the Bernabeu saw Anthony Lozano and Lucas Vazquez swap goals before Ramos’ penalty put Madrid 2-1 ahead before the break.
After Girona had equalised through Alex Granell’s penalty, Ramos headed his side in front again and Karim Benzema’s late strike put them in control ahead of Thursday’s second leg.
The growing understanding between centre-forward Benzema and 18-year-old winger Vinicius Junior — involved in three of Madrid’s four goals — means Solari will have a difficult decision to make when Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio return to fitness.
“Each game is a new battle,” the coach said when asked whether Vinicius would keep his place. “We will see. The important thing is that we get Bale and Asensio back and Vinicius and Benzema maintain this level of performance.”
Both Girona goals were avoidable, with left-back Marcelo caught out for the first and a handball from substitute Marcos Llorente leading to Girona’s penalty, but Solari said that overall he was happy.
“This is football,” he said. “It is what this sport has. You can dominate or deserve to win, but if you do not take your chances and the other team does even though they create less…”