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Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid hero again after turbulent year

first_imgJust as he did two years ago, Sergio Ramos left his footprint all over Real Madrid’s Champions League final triumph over Atletico Madrid following a turbulent 12 months.Ramos scored a controversial opening goal in the San Siro on Saturday and nonchalantly converted his penalty in the shootout before being named man of the match and lifting European soccer’s biggest trophy for the second time in three years. (Real Madrid beat Atletico on penalties to win Champions League)Ramos influenced the game hugely from the 15th minute when he popped up in front of Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak to bundle Gareth Bale’s flicked header into the net and put Madrid ahead, despite appearing to be marginally offside.Ramos then threw himself in front of a goal-bound shot from Antoine Griezmann and in the second half, with the game delicately poised at 1-1, the Spaniard cut down Yannick Carrasco to end a potentially fatal Atletico attack.After marshalling his exhausted team through extra time and into the shootout, Ramos calmly tucked Real’s fourth spot-kick into the bottom corner before Cristiano Ronaldo converted the decisive penalty to secure Real’s 11th European Cup.”There are few things that can compare to winning this trophy, it’s an award for hard work and for suffering because its been a very difficult season,” Ramos told reporters.”Scoring goals is a real boost for me, when you score a goal in a final it will always go down in history.” (Diego Simeone says future uncertain at Atletico after painful final loss)advertisementLess than a year ago, Ramos was reported to be on the verge of joining Manchester United and ending his decade-long spell with Real.After a two month stand-off, he ended the speculation by penning a new improved deal in August, saying it was never his intention to leave the Spanish capital.Despite clearing up his future, Ramos endured a difficult start to the season as Real struggled to gel under coach Rafael Benitez, and the defender dislocated his shoulder a month into the season, then suffering the same injury in November. (Zinedine Zidane lavishes praise on ‘team player’ Cristiano Ronaldo)He was rushed back to play against Barcelona but came in for more criticism as Real were crushed 4-0 by Luis Enrique’s side. Ramos was sent off against Barcelona five months later at the Nou Camp, although his side went on to win 2-1.A commanding display in the 3-0 win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League quarter-final second leg marked his return to form, and Ramos admitted after that game he had had a tough season.All those issues were forgotten, however, as he jubilantly hoisted the Champions League trophy into the Milan sky.”I suffered a lot after injuring my shoulder, but I decided to stop and then I improved,” added Ramos.”It’s a privilege to finish the season like this.”last_img read more

Greece will need more austerity cuts

first_imgGreece’s relief at having its new bailout approved by eurozone finance ministers was tempered on Tuesday by the publication of a confidential European Commission report on the Greek economy, which foresees Athens having to adopt almost 12 billion euros of austerity measures in 2013 and 2014.The Compliance Report, which was published by Reuters, said that further drastic reductions, equivalent to 5.5 per cent of gross domestic product, would be have to be agreed by the end of May to fill “fiscal gaps” in the next two years. Elections are likely to be held in early May so one of the next government’s first tasks will be to find 7.6 billion euros of savings in 2013 and another 4.1 billion in 2014 to stay on track with the fiscal program agreed with the Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika. The savings are likely to come from fresh cuts to pensions, new reductions in social transfers, the further slashing of pharmaceutical and healthcare spending, another round of cuts to defense spending and a restructuring of central and local administration. “The determination of the Greek authorities to stick to the agreed policies will be tested already in the coming months when the deficit-reducing measures to close the large gap for 2013-14 need to be identified,” it said. Greece has to achieve a primary surplus of 1.8 percent in 2013 and 4.5 percent in 2014 to continue to qualify for the loans the Eurogroup approved late on Monday. A new debt sustainability analysis by the troika that was presented to the finance ministers suggested that after the bond swap last Friday, Greek debt could fall to 116.5 percent of GDP in 2020 and below 90 percent in 2030. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos revealed in a statement that Greece would receive a total of 172.7 billion euros from the eurozone and IMF until the end of 2015. Of this, 130 billion euros will be from the second bailout, 34.5 billion euros that was left over from the first package and 8.2 billion euros that will be part of the 28 billion in total that the IMF will provide. In contrast with the first bailout, Greece will receive the loans in small, monthly installments. The IMF will provide 1.65 billion a month until the end of 2014 and the eurozone will supply the rest. In total, Athens will receive 5.9 billion euros this month, 3.3 billion euros in April and 5.3 billion in May. Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more