As Chelsea close in on the signing of Brazilian midfielder Ramires, we look at what he will bring to the table following the exit of Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Deco.
Height: 5ft 11
Previous Clubs: Joinville, Cruzerio, Benfica
International Caps: 16 (Debut vs. Uruguay – June 2009)
International Goals: 2
What a year it has been for the young Brazilian. After a hugely successful first season with Benfica, that has seen him win both domestic league and cup, Ramires followed that by being one of the outstanding performers for his country at the World Cup in South Africa. His performance against Chile in the last 16 was amongst the best seen at the tournament.
Ramires has built his reputation from the ground up. He was born on March 24, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro and at the age of 19 began his career with Brazilian minnows Joinville, where he played as a left-back.
After some impressive performances he was loaned out to Cruzeiro in 2007, and sealed a permanent deal in 2008. He established himself as a vital part of the Cruzeiro side that reached the Copa Libertadores Final in 2009.
His excellent form caught the attention of Europe’s elite clubs and in May 2009 he signed for Benfica in a deal worth £6.5m. He is known as the ‘Blue Kenyan,’ a name that was given to him during his time at Cruzeiro due to his amazing pace and stamina.
Ramires is a strong, tough-tackling player who has an eye for getting forward. He is an all-round midfielder, effective at both ends of the pitch. Versatility is a big part of his game. He has the ability to play central or on the right. However, he excelled playing in a deeper position when he filled in for Feilipe Melo during Brazil’s 3-0 win over Chile, where he also supplied a magnificent pass setting up Robinho for the third goal.
Following the departure of Michael Ballack, Chelsea have been looking for a man to cover the distance in the way the German did. Ramires is known to be a ‘work-horse’ and his tireless energy is exactly what the Blues need to fill the gap left by Ballack’s exit.
With many finding comparisons between Ramires and Michael Essien it may seem that Carlo Ancelloti is looking for the Brazilian to be the under-study of the injury-prone Ghana International.
However, it could be possible that we will see the Ramires playing in a deeper role, allowing Essien and Frank Lampard to charge forward while he commands the midfield.
It will be interesting to see how the ‘Blue Kenyan’ settles into English Football. His strength and aggressive nature should help him during the opening months and the fact that he is coming from a highly physical Portuguese league will help him as the transition is not as harsh as it would be when a player moves from Spain.
Ramires has all the tools to be a hit in England. This is one Brazilian that is likely to succeed in the Premier League.