“La Leyenda de Sergio Ramos,” (The Legend of Sergio Ramos) or season two of Amazon Prime Video Spain’s original docu-series “El Corazon de Sergio Ramos,” will premiere on the platform in Spain on April 9 and the rest of the world June 18.
Filmed across the tumultuous 2019-20 Real Madrid season, the series’ intended narrative diverged sharply after the COVID-19 pandemic split the domestic season in two and caused the postponement of the Uefa Euro 2020 championship and Olympic Games, both of which were planned to appear in the series.
“In a season as atypical as this, which none of us have ever experienced, we all had to adjust,” Óscar Prol, head of Spanish unscripted originals, Amazon Studios, told Variety. “Finally, we ended up with a completely different series, but the result has been spectacular, and we were able to show and tell parts of Sergio’s story that would have otherwise been impossible.”
Shifting away from stadiums of 90,000 screaming fans, parades past Madrid’s Plaza de Cibeles and crowded barbeques and concerts with friends seen in early episodes of “La Leyenda,” Season 2 evolves into a more intimate look at the factors that go into making one of world soccer’s most dominant athletes, among them Ramos’ already remarkable workout routine, which was turned up to 11 when the pandemic made it impossible for players to train together, or to even use the team’s facilities.
Similarly, the series’ production team upped their game for Season 2 in an obvious and major step forward for the franchise, taking the reality-documentary mix to a new level. Although at its core “La Leyenda” is a reality series, Season 2 has far less in common with “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” than it does with Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance.”
“We wanted to give season two the cinematic and production feel of a sports documentary, and we’ve made a concerted effort to raise production values,” explained Prol.
Prol added: “We recruited people with vast experience working in sports and high-end projects to up the ante, because anytime we return to a project like this, we want to raise the bar. If we were going to do a second season, it had to be different and offer something more.”
To that end, Amazon partnered again with Endemol Shine Iberia, part of the Banijay group, on production and employed José Rueda, a director with extensive TV experience in Spain in both fiction and non-fiction, to helm season two.
Taking time from his packed schedule, beyond soccer Ramos is an equestrian, musician, owns a gym and is a part of several other ventures which can be seen in the series. Madrid’s Number 4 spoke with Variety about his work ethic, getting involved behind the camera and what a vital role his wife, popular Spanish TV presenter Pilar Rubio, and his children play in keeping him grounded.
“Never stop dreaming,” you tell Sergio Junior at the beginning of Season 1, and repeat time and again through season two. You also battle hard for your dreams, through intense personal workout, swimming, running, and these things have almost certainly extended your career. Could you comment?
I can say that my life has been a dream, and I have fulfilled any aspirations or goals I’ve had so far. For that I’m grateful. Nowadays in professional sport, it’s not enough to just do ordinary training, an athlete must live for the sport. In my case, soccer. Personalized training is crucial, diet, rest, and having a team which adapts all my routines is key to ensuring that I’m performing to the best of my abilities and that my career can last as long as possible.
It’s obvious you’re a man of details. In every endeavor you make sure to be involved at all levels, whether that’s in soccer, raising horses, opening a gym, music or even cooking a barbeque. I wonder then, what was your role in this series beyond what we see on screen?
I must say, the idea of making a documentary series was mine to begin with [laughs]. I had always had this desire to tell and demonstrate to those who are interested what the keys are that have led me here. With Season 2 my involvement was maximized, to the extent that my profession and other obligations allowed me. First, we met to assess what stories and content we wanted to share, how to do it, and who would be involved. After recording, we stayed involved in production as well. The truth is that it is a project which required a great deal of work and commitment but was also fun and hugely rewarding. That said, this project would not have been possible without the magnificent team of Amazon Studios and the production company Banijay [owned Endemol Shine Spain]. We had an immediate understanding which was key to making the series a real and sincere reflection of the story we wanted to tell.
In Season 2 several people, including yourself, talk about Sergio Ramos after football. Does watching yourself in this show impact how you see yourself now? And does a documentary like this give you any more insight into what life could be after football? Is there a desire to do more work like this in TV or film?
[Laughs] You know, the truth is I don’t know, but I’m certainly not dismissing the possibility. It’s a world I enjoy working in and I’ve learned a lot from. If I’m honest with you, right now my attention is completely focused on soccer, as I believe I have several seasons left at the top level. After that, we’ll see. What I can say, for sure, is that I can’t imagine a future without soccer. Whatever I do, it will be combined with soccer in some way.
You’ve played on several of the greatest soccer teams in recent history, but a career in sport at any level is usually temporary. At home you’re part of a much more permanent team that keeps you grounded and is equally as important to your success as exercise, diet, skill or luck. Can you talk a little bit about how important it was for your family, especially Pilar, who is an inspirational figure herself, to be part of this series?
Family is everything to me and has been since a young age. Early on my parents and brothers were my greatest sources of support, and now that’s Pilar and my children. Pilar is an amazing woman, affectionate, sincere, extremely hardworking and ambitious. For me, she has everything, and I think we blend and compliment each other so well. As a professional footballer and what it entails, it’s important to have anchors that keep your feet on the ground, that remind you from time to time how things are or aren’t and won’t just tell you what you want to hear. Pilar is that person for me, a person who makes me better and makes me want to improve.