Ramires is finding his feet at Chelsea... after some unlikely inspiration from Liverpool's Lucas

23 March 2011 11:39
When Ramires struggled through his first few months of Barclays Premier League football, the Chelsea player looked up to a fellow Brazilian midfielder for inspiration.

Not Kaka, Zico, Socrates or any of the other greats, but the less-heralded Liverpoolworkhorse Lucas.

That both are likely to start for Brazil against Scotland at the Emirates on Sunday shows how they are overcoming their critics in a league that South Americans notoriously find difficult to crack.

Smooth transition: Ramires (left) is now a hit at Chelsea - thanks to Lucas (right)

It was only last season that Lucas now in his fourth campaign began to win over critics at Anfield, but the transition is happening a lot quicker for Ramires, an  ?18million summer signing from Portuguese champions Benfica.

The 23-year-old's goal his second of the season and tireless work from box to box in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday came soon after his key role in the victory over Manchester United and perhaps his finest performance yet in the first-leg Champions League defeat of Copenhagen.

Those early days of giving the ball away cheaply are gone.

'We knew it would take a time to adapt when I arrived,' he said. 'That was no surprise. No Brazilian escapes it when he comes to England. Lucas has also lived through what I am experiencing and now his work is being recognised. I think this period went even quicker for me.'

Ramires is not one of those prima donnas who disappear from games when the tricks do not come off. He is all about hard work, sacrifice and determination.

He was brought up by his grandmother Teresinha in Barra do Pirai, near Rio, after hisparents left town in search of work.

When Teresinha suffered a stroke, young Ramires dedicated himself to looking after her.

'She was like a mother,' he said recently. 'After the stroke she could not regain all hermovement. I would be at school in the morning, come home in the afternoon and stay until dawn looking after her. You don't have a gift for that, it's in the heart.'

Showing his appreciation: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti hails Ramires' fine strike against Manchester City

His mother Judite jokes that Ramires got his reputation for being a tireless runner because he had to escape being clouted by Teresinha. But his grandmother's deathleft a profound impression on the 12-year-old boy.

'She's the person that I really want to be here today, seeing what is happening to me, the changes I'm going through,' he said. 'From where she is, I'm sure she sees all the effort I'm putting in, all the fight.'

His football development also had to be put on hold when he was 16 and needed to help out paying the bills by working as a labourer on his two uncles' building site for ?2 a day.

Within a month of signing for Cruzeiro, his first major club in June 2007, Ramires became a hit by scoring against their Belo Horizonte arch-rivals Atletico Mineiro with an 85th-minute run.

A year later, he was a surprise call-up to the Olympics for Brazil and was snapped up by Benfica for ?6.6m.

He was shown the ropes by David Luiz in Portugal and Ramires's best form for Chelsea has coincided with him playing the reverse role by helping Luiz adapt to life in England.

The big-haired centre half has been an instant hit on the pitch and looks set to be a regular for his country after playing in each game under new coach Mano Menezes.

A fixture for club and country: Luiz

Ramires said: 'We shared great moments in Portugal and I am sure there will be several more here in England. And who knows if we will be together for a long time with the national team too.'

Back-to-back defeats against Argentina and France have caused Menezes to reinstatesome of the flops he so ruthlessly shunned after Brazil fell to Holland in the quarter-final at South Africa 2010.

BOYS FROM BRAZIL SQUAD Cesar (Inter Milan), Jefferson(Botafogo), Victor (Gremio), Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Inter), Santos (Fenerbahce), Marcelo (Real Madrid),Silva (AC Milan), Lucio (Inter), Luiz (Chelsea), Luisao (Benfica), Lucas (Liverpool), Sandro (Tottenham), Ramires (Chelsea), Henrique (Cruzeiro), Elano (Santos), Elias (Atletico Madrid), Augusto (Bayer Leverkusen) Jadson (Shakhtar Donetsk), Lucas (Sao Paulo), Pato (AC Milan), Nilmar (Villarreal), Neymar (Santos), Jonas (Valencia), Leandro (Internacional).

Manchester United right back Rafael has lost his place to veteran Maicon, whose Inter Milan team-mate Lucio joins former Manchester City midfielder Elano in also being brought back in from the cold.

Robinho's surprise omission means Neymar should start at the Emirates, seven months after shunning a move from Santos to Chelsea.

Still keen, Roman Abramovich will be watching closely after sending his personal talent-spotter Piet de Visser to watch the skilful 19-year-old forward top-score as Brazil won the South American Under 20 Championship in Peru this winter.

Tottenham's Sandro is also likely to get a run-out after grabbing global attention bybossing the midfield against AC Milan in the Champions League last 16.

Bright future: Sandro (left) and Lucas have impressed Brazil's chiefs

The other LucasWith Kaka not trusted after a feeble return to Real Madrid from knee surgery, Brazil coach Mano Menezes may hand a debut to Sao Paulo playmaker Lucas Rodrigues da Silva Moura.

The 18-year-old's five-year deal has the biggest buy-out clause in Brazil: ?66million.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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