Friday’s Champions League draw set us up for the most hotly anticipated sequel since Avengers: Endgame.
Sergio Ramos vs Mohamed Salah: Part II.
Since the fateful final in 2018 that saw Ramos take the Liverpool forward out of the game with an armbar, Madrid have fallen from grace and risen to it again.
Liverpool, meanwhile, completed one of the most satisfying redemption arcs in modern football history, but have seen their Premier League title defence fall to pieces. They will head to the Bernabeu looking more vulnerable than they ever have, since their 2018 defeat in Kyiv.
According to Madrid legend Roberto Carlos, though, there is only going to be one victor in the dominant Salah-Ramos sub-plot. He reckons the Egyptian doesn’t stand a chance against the decorated Los Blancos captain.
He’s right on the latter point: just hours after the draw ‘Ramos Salah’ is a trending topic all over social media, with fans desperate to see the two go head to head once more and write a new chapter in their simmering rivarly.
It’s worth noting that most of the animosity between the two has been drummed up by the media: the two actually hugged soon after, and despite some stirring of the pot from a few within the Liverpool camp at the time *cough* Dejan Lovren *cough* there seems to be an acceptance that Salah’s injury was pretty much accidental – despite how it looked in replays.
Still, it should be one of the narratives of the quarter-finals. Salah goes in off the back of a fine run of form: he’s netted 25 goals so far and scored in both legs against RB Leipzig to get Liverpool this far.
Ramos, meanwhile, has just recovered from a long-term injury, but will likely be back in the swing of it by the time the first leg comes around.
At 34, football’s favourite pantomime villain knows he doesn’t have too many chances at silverware ahead of him, so he’ll be looking to make this one count at Salah’s expense once more.
So, who’s bringing the popcorn on 6 April?