Defender Sergio Ramos reckons Bilbao will be party central at UEFA EURO 2020.
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2019/20 promises to be a long, hard but memorable season, with EURO 2020 the icing on the cake. How are you looking forward to it?
Sergio Ramos: It is going to be a special season. First, with Real Madrid, we will fight for trophies on all fronts; and then there is EURO 2020, which is such an attractive target to aim for, one of my big personal goals of the coming season.
To play for your country, Spain, is always something special, and to actually play with my Spanish team-mates at San Mamés in a EURO group stage – provided we qualify – would be unbelievable. Personally I can't wait for next summer's EURO.
It could also be a record-breaking year for you, with the possibility of becoming Spain's most-capped player as well as landing a potential hat-trick of EURO wins …
Ramos: I have been fortunate enough to be part of a generation of unbelievably talented footballers who together won everything on offer: EURO 2008, the World Cup and EURO 2012. They were all very special tournaments that provided real joy and incredible memories.
Now, if things fall into place and the national coach selects me, it's possible I might break the record for Spanish national team caps. On top of that, there is the ambition of winning EURO 2020. However, I don't think about a potential triple crown, only about giving everything for the team and aiming high – because we can win against any opponent and can bring that trophy home.
EURO 2020 looks like being a really interesting tournament, with matches all over Europe and hopefully with Spain playing two group games in Bilbao …
Ramos: It will be a very special tournament, with so many different host cities spread across Europe. A real football fiesta.
As for San Mamés, what can you say? Anyone who has played there or who has watched football there knows that it is a very special stadium, in a city that loves its football. I am sure we will get a great reception from the supporters and that there will be a fantastic atmosphere in Bilbao during the tournament and especially, qualification permitting, for our matches.
To sum up then: the best national teams, the best players in Europe, 12 fabulous stadiums dotted around the continent … How good will EURO 2020 be?
Ramos: It looks really promising, doesn't it! To play in any EURO tournament – just to play for your country even – it's always a real honour. But to do so at this particular EURO will be even more special.
The prospect of being able to enjoy playing these two group games in Bilbao, and to be able to experience playing at other state-of-the-art European stadiums … San Mamés will be incredible; to get to Wembley would be incredible too, for the semi-finals and the final.
Wembley is a legendary stadium, a ground where I haven't played enough. It [getting there] would put the seal on a potentially brilliant season.