If ever you wanted proof that the universe still hasn't gotten its act together in punishing hubris, consider watching Sergio Ramos scoring panenka penalties for Real Madrid.
The centre back has, according to reports, responded to the ego vacuum left by Cristiano Ronaldo by appointing himself Madrid's penalty and free-kick taker, and has come to embody the blithe arrogance and entitlement that defines modern-day Real Madrid.
This was best exhibited as Julen Lopetegui was shuffling zombie-like to the exit door at the Bernabeu, when things got to the point that the club's players and decision-makers were openly responding to questions about the identity of Lopetegui's successor.
The identity of that man has since been confirmed as Santi Solari, but there was a time that it seemed certain to be former Chelsea and Juventus manager Antonio Conte before Madrid went cold on him. It had been reported that they objected to the size of his retinue, although it was clear that Ramos wasn't too enthusiastic about working with the Italian, who is renowned as a strict taskmaster.
"I’ve always had a good relationship with all my Coaches. It’s better to stay out of these situations because they’re delicate. Respect is earned, not imposed. There are coaches with whom we’ve won titles. A coach’s ability to manage the dressing room is more important than their knowledge", said Ramos after his side's 5-1 wallopping at the hands of Barcelona.
Conte has now responded to this idea that he would have to prove himself to the Madrid dressing room, rather than the other way round. The Italian shifted the emphasis back to the players.
Sergio Ramos’ words? We must bring manners and respect with us wherever we go.
The same must also come from the players because when that fails, problems begin. Us Coaches have a great work ethic. When you come into a new environment, you can’t upset the apple cart. You must enter slowly.