“You are going to have the chance to see everything, not just the good times of a football player… but when you hit bottom. We actually started shooting in one of the worst professional years for my team.”
Sergio Ramos has opened the doors to his home and let the Amazon prime cameras in for fly-on-the-wall documentary, El Corazon de (The Heart of) Sergio Ramos.
The eight-part series follows the Real Madrid and Spanish national team captain from game-to-game – and all times in between – throughout the 2018/19 season, and it’s strongest aspect is ironically the one Ramos will despair at.
Had the cameras gained access in any of the three seasons prior to the one they plumped for, the climax would see a herculean Ramos hoisting the Champions League trophy high.
Instead, Ramos was tracked during an abysmal campaign by Real Madrid’s impeccable standards as they finished third behind Barcelona and cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid.
They were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions league by Ajax following an eye-popping 4-1 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu, yet while Ramos’ glittering, trophy-rich career deserves to be showcased, the documentary has been greatly enhanced by the sheer chaos of it all.
Even the Spanish national team can’t save face for Ramos as the opening episode highlights England’s 3-2 victory in Seville following a brutal first-half attacking display from Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.
We see Ramos hurting, we see Ramos away from his clear success, and that can make for moments of compelling viewing.
Amazon were probably aiming for another All Or Nothing: Manchester City – a safe highlights reel of untainted success – when in reality, Ramos’ season brings scenes a little closer to the all-out warfare of Sunderland ‘Til I Die.
And that is what fans want. Perfection can be boring, suffering can be thrilling.
What does Ramos want?
It’s clear throughout the opening episode that he does not revel in his bad boy image.
The 33-year-old is an elite-tier pantomime villain with 219 yellow cards and 25 red card littering his 15-year career, but Ramos clearly does not want his on-field persona to define his legacy.
Scenes from El Corazon at home hardly paint him as an everyman – his pristine house, family and cars testify against him being your ordinary bloke in a 9-to-5 grind – but there is a gentle side to Ramos, a tender aspect to the man we’re more accustomed to watching kick, scream and wrestle his way to every trophy under the sun.
The doc is an all-access experience in terms of the cameras’ physical presence, though footage can be guarded.
Following the England defeat, Ramos is downtrodden but the cameras are left hanging in the balmy air outside as he enters his home and pushes the door shut. Oh, to be on the other side of the door.
From a football perspective, fans will always still enjoy the dynamic storytelling of big games, big wins, big defeats.
The cameras also follow Ramos’ wife, Pilar Rubio, a Spanish TV presenter, actress and model – with over four million followers on Instagram – and their three kids: Alejandro, Marco and Sergio Jr.
Rubio is a celebrity, an icon in her own right, and the focus shifts to her day job on TV challenge show El Hormiguero 3.0 where she undertakes the gritty task of firing an arrow through a moving piece of toast into a balloon.
Nope, we don’t understand either.
The ‘Posh and Becks’ showbiz life away from the field may not enthral fans who would rather picture Ramos living in an underground gym, beating the life out of a Mohamed Salah punchbag with Fight Club on 24/7 repeat, but drawing in a legion of fans aside from football may be Ramos’ ultimate goal.
Without turmoil – and the promise of more – the opening episode may have been too sickly pristine for many to fully get onboard with, but Amazon inadvertently chose to follow Ramos and Real Madrid at their lowest, and that could end up being El Corazon’s strongest card.
El Corazón de Sergio Ramos launches on Prime Video on 13th September