• Euro 2012

Ramos aware of weight of history

ESPN staff
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Spain won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 © Getty Images
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Sergio Ramos says winning a historic treble of major championships would be the "icing on the cake" following years of hard work and planning by the Spanish national team.

Spain - the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 champions - head into Sunday's Euro 2012 final against Italy on course to become the first team to win three major international tournaments in a row, with the World Cup as part of the treble.

It is a milestone Ramos admits the Spanish players are well aware of but, even if they come up short in Kiev, he believes they have already made history.

"We are aware of what we are playing for on Sunday," he said. "It is something that as of today no team has ever achieved. It requires many years of work and sacrifice. No matter what happens we have already made history.

"This hasn't finished though and the icing on the cake would be to return and win the Euros. Maybe there are some that don't value it but for the work we have done I think the whole country ought to be proud. Even if we lose we can return with our heads held high."

Andrea Pirlo has been the key to Italy's unexpected run to the final as the 33-year-old has produced a number of sublime performances, including in the 1-1 draw against Spain earlier in the tournament, but Ramos is also wary of the Azzurri's strikeforce.

"Pirlo is one of Italy's references, he makes the difference and takes control," he said. "He is like Xavi in our team but they are two fantastic footballers. Although we also can't concentrate on one player because Italy create danger with the forwards they have too. The collective is what has got them here.

"We ought to be worried about them but not obsessed. We need to maintain our philosophy of play which is the key to our success."

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas, meanwhile, has highlighted the importance of Andres Iniesta if Spain are to retain their European crown.

Iniesta has been the champions' standout performer throughout the tournament and Fabregas is hoping he can unlock the Italian defence once more on Sunday.

"Andres improves in every game. It has been a difficult season for him with injuries but he has arrived at the Euros in an extraordinary moment," he said.

"At the point of attack he has this creativity that very few people have. He is a player we need to take authority in the game. On an attacking level he is our reference."

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